SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite a stiff neck, which he says came on a recent airplane flight, D-backs ace Zack Greinke said Saturday that he feels much better physically then he did last year when he reported to Spring Training.Greinke, who asked for and was granted permission to miss the first
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite a stiff neck, which he says came on a recent airplane flight, D-backs ace Zack Greinke said Saturday that he feels much better physically then he did last year when he reported to Spring Training.
Greinke, who asked for and was granted permission to miss the first two days of camp, could throw his first bullpen of the spring Sunday depending on how the stiff neck responds.
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Here are five takeaways from Greinke's Saturday session with reporters:
1. He is happy in Arizona
Despite the fact that the D-backs are retooling following the departures of Patrick Corbin, Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, Greinke has no desire to be traded with three years left on the six-year, $206.5 million deal he signed prior to the 2016 season.
"I don't really want to get traded," Greinke said. "I think the no-trade clause almost kind of shows I don't want to get traded. I know it's still possible. But that's not my goal. I don't think it's the team's goal too much. But if it makes sense, they've got to consider it. But I don't have any desire to be traded to any team. I've had a really good time here. Everything about it is pretty good. The organization is pretty good, the town's good. The players on the team are great. It's a good setup here."
2. He still thinks the D-backs are contenders
While most of the preseason predictions don't seem to have the D-backs in the playoffs, Greinke believes that as the team retools, it can also contend.
"I think we're still a pretty good team, which if things were done differently, we could be a lot worse for this season," Greinke said. "This season, our team's still in the fight to win it all, which is all you could ask for. I would say I'd be surprised if people didn't think our expectations were to win the World Series. It's definitely not an easy road, but I would be very surprised if anyone thought that wasn't possible. There are some teams where you could say it's pretty much impossible. Our team definitely has the talent to make a run at it."
3. He now understands missing the first two days didn't look good
Greinke said he was late to camp because "things kind of creeped up faster than I was thinking and I was going to have to rush to get here. I just decided instead of rushing, I asked if I could just come at a more relaxed pace. It worked out fine, I think."
But when he was asked later in the session whether it sent a poor message for a veteran -- and by far the team's highest-paid player -- to miss the first couple of days, he acknowledged it might not have been the best choice.
"I didn't think about it, but maybe I should have," Greinke said. "That was Torey's [manager Lovullo] biggest complaint about it. Maybe I should have looked at that closer when doing it. I talked to some [teammates], but I don't think anyone was verbally mad to me. But maybe they are. Maybe someone is. But no one's been verbally upset."
4. Aside from the stiff neck, he's ready to go
Two springs ago, Greinke tried to take things slower than other pitchers, but then found himself rushing to get ready for Opening Day.
Last year, he was on a normal schedule but had a little setback in the spring, and his diminished velocity and stuff led him to struggle.
Instead, once the season opened, he was fine and went on to go 15-11 with a 3.21 ERA.
"I couldn't feel much better than I do right now," he said. "That doesn't mean I'm going to be better than the last couple years when the season comes. It just means I feel good right now compared to at this time last season, when I felt terrible."
5. While he doesn't like Spring Training, he knows it's necessary
Citing "too many people" and meetings as a couple of the reasons he doesn't like spring, Greinke knows the six-week period is necessary.
"I actually don't think it's too long," Greinke said. "I think it's too boring. I don't enjoy it, but I need every single day to get ready. I wish I could say I only needed two weeks. I don't enjoy it. But I'm one of the few people who thinks it needs to be as long as it is."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.