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Greinke taking faster approach this spring

Veteran righty has already thrown five bullpen sessions, four ahead of camp
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke took a slow approach to getting ready for last season, but the D-backs right-hander is accelerating his pace this spring.

With an extra week of Spring Training in 2017 due to the World Baseball Classic, Greinke decided to slowly ramp up for Opening Day. He was one of the final starters to throw a bullpen. The approach seemed to work from a results standpoint, as Greinke went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last year.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke took a slow approach to getting ready for last season, but the D-backs right-hander is accelerating his pace this spring.

With an extra week of Spring Training in 2017 due to the World Baseball Classic, Greinke decided to slowly ramp up for Opening Day. He was one of the final starters to throw a bullpen. The approach seemed to work from a results standpoint, as Greinke went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last year.

"Just last year, it ended up being a good year, but I felt like I was playing catchup a little too much," Greinke said. "And if things didn't work out super smooth at the end of Spring Training, I might have been a little bit more behind. Whereas this year, I'm trying to start early so I don't have to be lucky to get ready in time."

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As with last spring, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo has said it is up to Greinke as to how he wants to set up his schedule.

Thursday, Greinke threw his fifth bullpen session of the spring -- he'd thrown four before Wednesday, when camp opened.

Greinke, 34, had planned on throwing all offseason long, but those plans got derailed by some unexpected travel and other things.

"The reason why I'm trying to get ready faster this time, I had a couple setbacks trying to get ready in the offseason, small ones, I got a rash and minor things like that," Greinke said. "So just kind of had to push things back more than usual. So trying to catch up earlier rather than waiting the whole Spring Training."

Greinke still has four years and $126.5 million left to go on the free-agent deal he signed prior to the 2016 season.

Video: ARI@SF: Greinke, Rodney combine to shut out Giants

After coming off a good 2017, there was some talk that the D-backs might look to get out from under that contract by trading him. During the Winter Meetings in December, there were multiple reports that several teams asked about him.

"Might have been [during the] Winter Meetings it crossed my mind a little bit," Greinke said when asked if he thought he might have been dealt during the offseason. "But once that kind of passed, I didn't think too much of it. That was about it -- so a couple of days to a week, I thought about it some. I still was thinking probably lower 20 percent chance."

There's a lot better chance that Greinke will be tabbed to be the team's Opening Day starter, for the third year in a row, but Lovullo was not ready to say that just yet.

"Nothing is written in stone right now," Lovullo said. "We're going to see how the spring plays out. I don't want to go that far yet. I want to wait it out and see how these guys perform, from a health standpoint first and foremost."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke