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Greinke faces Minor Leaguers in 'B' game

D-backs, right-hander opt to train in controlled environment
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Friday was Zack Greinke's day to pitch, but the D-backs right-hander was not on the mound during the afternoon game against the Rockies.

Instead, Greinke faced a host of D-backs Minor Leaguers on a backfield Thursday morning in what is known as a "B" game.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Friday was Zack Greinke's day to pitch, but the D-backs right-hander was not on the mound during the afternoon game against the Rockies.

Instead, Greinke faced a host of D-backs Minor Leaguers on a backfield Thursday morning in what is known as a "B" game.

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The reason for Greinke's outing coming on the backfield appeared to be twofold. One, it kept the division-rival Rockies from getting another look at him; two, it allowed the D-backs to control the environment so they could make sure that he got up and down three times.

"Just worked on making some pitches, locate some stuff, build up pitch count and all of that went pretty good," Greinke said.

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Greinke threw 49 pitches and did not need to cut any inning short in order to get three under his belt.

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"He was working on fastball command, continuing to try and work on the shape of his breaking ball," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "The changeup looked like at times it was really, really good. As far as his process goes I think he's exactly where he should be. This is what I remember him doing last year and I know he'll be ready for the start of the season."

Greinke's outing drew a crowd. Not necessarily of fans -- though there were a handful of those -- but a good number of Arizona's Minor Leaguers came to watch the former Cy Young Award winner work.

The Minor Leaguers were encouraged by D-backs staff to watch not only Greinke's pitches, but how he carried himself on the mound.

"I think everybody's got a schedule, it was right around lunchtime and everyone is hungry, but I think everyone was digging into what was happening," Lovullo said. "When you get a chance to watch someone as elite as Zack we want to expose as many guys to that as possible. It's a great learning tool for young guys."

Greinke threw 1 2/3 innings in his first spring start on Feb. 25 against the Brewers and allowed one run on three hits.

After that game he said he was disappointed with his fastball command.

Video: MIL@ARI: Greinke tosses 1 2/3 frames against the Crew

"Just consistency with everything and command," Greinke said of what he worked on. "Today, fastball command was a little better than last game probably, but still has to get better than it is. I've got four more outings, maybe, to get there."

Greinke said a lot of the Rockies' regulars have faced him "over 50 times" in their careers, so he doesn't feel there are any secrets to be exposed by facing them. However, he did prefer pitching in a B game.

"Probably just that you can control it a little bit more and if you were working on something specifically you could spend a little extra time on it compared to if you're in one of those [Major League] games," Greinke said. "I guess technically I'd prefer not to face them another time, but at this point it's not as big a deal."

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke