SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While their teammates played 35 miles away in a stadium packed with people, two key members of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- right-hander Zack Greinke and outfielder A.J. Pollock -- toiled in a Minor League game with only a handful of fans watching along with numerous scouts.The pair
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While their teammates played 35 miles away in a stadium packed with people, two key members of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- right-hander Zack Greinke and outfielder A.J. Pollock -- toiled in a Minor League game with only a handful of fans watching along with numerous scouts.
The pair was facing a collection of Triple-A players from the Giants organization and were there for different reasons, but came away from the day having accomplished what they wanted.
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For Greinke, it was a matter of getting up and down seven times and pitching in an environment that would allow him to work on things without the pressure that comes in a regular Cactus League game.
Because Minor League games are unstructured, it is hard to pinpoint exactly how many innings Greinke threw. One inning was ended early and he came out for a batter at one point, but the key thing was to get his pitch count up and simulate seven inning breaks.
"Probably just stamina, I guess," Greinke said of the benefit of pitching in a Minor League game. "And it's a semi-mental break because there's not as much pressure if you give up a bunch of runs. The fans aren't watching you, so you cannot take it as personal probably if you aren't doing good. I threw close to 90 pitches, close to seven innings, I came out healthy, threw pretty good. It was good overall."
Greinke, who will start Opening Day, has one start left this spring, but his regular turn would come up next Tuesday, when the D-backs play the Rockies, the same team they face on Opening Day. It remains to be seen if Greinke will face the Rockies, pitch the next day against the A's or once again pitch in a Minor League game.
For Pollock, the game marked the first time he swung at a pitch in game action since March 8 due to soreness in his elbow.
Pollock went 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts.
"I felt pretty good," Pollock said. "It's good to get some at-bats. There's a couple of things I have to work on. But overall, just getting out there and being another step toward getting back with the squad is always a positive."
Pollock, who is being counted on to be a huge part of the D-backs' offense, believes that he will be ready for Opening Day.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.