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Greinke officially out of running to start opener

Righty could still pitch in first series vs. Rockies
Special to MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though he's not ready to name a starter yet, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo made a decisive statement about who was out of the running.

"I would say Zack [Greinke] is not in the mix to start Opening Day," Lovullo said Monday.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though he's not ready to name a starter yet, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo made a decisive statement about who was out of the running.

"I would say Zack [Greinke] is not in the mix to start Opening Day," Lovullo said Monday.

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Greinke is slated to pitch against the Giants at Salt River Fields on Wednesday night. That lines him up to pitch Monday, March 26, at Chase Field against the Indians in an exhibition game and Saturday, March 31, in the third game of the regular season against the Rockies.

Lovullo said that had it not been for his groin issue, Greinke would have been the Opening Day starter, an announcement he had not yet made when the injury came up last Wednesday.

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"Every staff has a number one, and he fits the bill perfectly," Lovullo said of Greinke. "He started last year. He won 17 games last year. He was our staff ace. He carried us numerous times in numerous situations, and he would have deserved the Opening Day start."

No-hitter avoided

Of the 29 Spring Training no-hitters since 1908, three of them have been in the Cactus League, and two of those ended in scores of 15-0. So in the bottom of the eighth, with the D-backs trailing the White Sox 15-0, and Chicago tallying 19 hits to Arizona's nil, it was looking like déjà vu all over again.

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Enter Alberto Rosario, who doubled to the warning track and broke up Chicago's no-no bid. Rosario, 31, is a new catcher in the D-backs' system who had three at-bats for the Cardinals last year, and made his Cactus League debut by getting the D-backs in the hit column.

"I know it didn't look like a great day, and it wasn't," Lovullo said after the 15-2 loss. "I want to focus on some things that went well."

One thing that went well was the 1 1/3 innings from Fernando Salas, who allowed one hit and struck out one. Salas has pitched in nine spring games for the D-backs and hasn't allowed a run yet. He's walked one and struck out seven, while allowing eight hits.

"Salas threw the ball extremely well," Lovullo said. "He's been very productive. He needs to keep plowing away and doing what he's doing. We love what we see out of him."

Signed to a Minor League contract in late January, the 32-year-old right-hander is a veteran of eight big league seasons with the Cardinals, Angels, and Mets. Salas has a career 3.85 ERA and has pitched in at least 61 games in five seasons, including last year. He is fighting for one of the remaining bullpen spots, and he is forcing his way into the conversation about the D-backs' final roster spots.

"We're going to make some tough decisions as we start moving forward here," Lovullo said. "We've already made some tough decisions. What I keep telling everybody is keep doing your job and make these decisions as hard as possible for us. He's been throwing the ball very well, locating the ball, changing speeds. The things we need him to do, he's been doing."

On the other side of the ledger, Albert Suarez struggled in a start that could have solidified his standing as he competes for the long relief role. Filling in for Greinke on the day the D-backs' ace would normally pitch, Suarez allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings.

"Suarez had some good moments, he just couldn't land his breaking ball," Lovullo said, noting that the White Sox propensity for sitting on fastballs and the lack of effective offspeed stuff was a recipe for disaster.

"That's where we need to get to with some of these guys, and we know we're challenged. That's the nature of Spring Training, and we got a lot of clarity in a lot of different situations today."

Suarez was a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Giants, so if he's not on the roster all season, the D-backs lose him back to the Giants. He saw his ERA balloon from 3.72 to 6.57 after Monday's outing.

Medical tent

Outfielder Rey Fuentes was hit by a pitch in his left hand in the sixth inning of Monday's game.

"He was X-rayed and there's no break," Lovullo said. "We're very thankful for that. Raymond's having a tremendous spring, and you hate to see things like that happen. It looks like a contusion."

Video: ARI@MIL: Fuentes crushes a three-run home run

Fuentes, 27, is hitting .361 (13-for-36) in Cactus League action and is a .238 hitter in 100 games over three seasons with the Padres, Royals and D-backs.

Up next

Robbie Ray climbs the hill for the D-backs on Tuesday as they travel to Tempe, Ariz., to take on the Angels in a 1:05 p.m. MST game. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke