Greinke reports arm soreness after 'sloppy' stretch

May 29th, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS --  has been dealing with soreness in his right forearm/flexor area that has likely led to some of the bad results the Royals’ veteran starter has seen recently.

Greinke allowed five runs -- all coming on three homers -- across four innings in the Royals’ 7-3 loss to the Twins at Target Field on Sunday, splitting the series with the American League Central leaders before heading to Cleveland for a three-game set starting Monday.

After Greinke exited the game, the Royals found out about the soreness he’s felt for “a little bit,” he said without giving more specifics on how long he’s been dealing with the injury.

“It’s just been sore and tight for a little bit,” Greinke said. “Stuff just doesn’t seem very sharp at the moment. Last couple games, have given up home runs on pitches that guys have never hit. So that tells you that stuff isn’t sharp. …

“Hope it gets better and I can start getting outs and help us win games. It would be a lot more fun than what’s been happening.”

Greinke didn’t know after Sunday’s game whether he would miss time, saying he still needs to talk with the trainers. This is a feeling the 38-year-old has had to deal with before, although he couldn’t remember specifically when or what he did to help the issue.

“I’ve had some elbow issues on and off for like eight years,” Greinke said. “This is a little different, probably. Might have been last year or two years ago, I might have had something like this around playoff time.”

The elder statesman of the Royals' rotation has given up 19 earned runs over his last 18 innings, spanning four starts after pitching to a 2.57 ERA (eight earned runs in 28 innings) and .242 opponents' average through his first five starts of the season. He’s struggled to contain the long ball in back-to-back outings, allowing five homers in 7 2/3 innings. On Sunday, Gio Urshela tagged him for a three-run blast in the third inning, and Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach went back to back in the fourth.

With how precise Greinke’s command typically is, and how he’s able to manipulate the ball despite not possessing high velocity anymore, the 19-year veteran starter is usually able to limit that kind of damage.

“Greinke, especially, when facing a guy like that, he can pitch around the zone if he wants, hit the corners of the plate, up and down,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He can do a lot of things to keep a team off balance. He bends, every game, he bends in some way. It’s just very difficult to get the big hit off of him at times the way he pitches.”

Gordon’s homer came on a fastball in the middle of the plate, but Urshela’s was on an inside sinker -- a pitch Greinke had only given up four hits on this year, according to Baseball Savant -- and Larnach’s on a curveball on the outside of the zone. Greinke wasn’t too upset by the location of either pitch, but neither had the movement or bite Greinke is usually able to achieve.

“I just know a lot of stuff isn’t real good,” Greinke said. “Changeup’s not really moving, it doesn’t seem like. Not commanding the fastball. Curveball’s not biting like it was earlier in the year. Just the pitches aren’t very crisp. … Just pretty sloppy.”

The Twins’ barrage put the Royals in an early hole against right-hander Sonny Gray, who held Kansas City to one hit until he exited with his own injury (right pectoral tightness) in the sixth inning.

“We were at least able to make a little mark there once we got into their bullpen, but [Gray] was very good,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Mixed everything up. Was sharp, didn’t make a lot of mistakes. Not making a lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate and changing up speeds.”

The Royals didn’t have many details after Sunday’s game on what exactly Greinke’s injury is, saying they still need to have tests done to determine what’s next. But dealing with a potential injury to their Opening Day starter isn’t the news the Royals were looking for as they try to gain some momentum with the worst record (16-30) in the American League just two months into the season.

“When he came out, we didn’t know he had some issue on his forearm,” Matheny said. “So that’s probably something that may have been with him from the beginning that we weren’t aware of. Unfortunately, the elbow area, flexor area, wasn’t feeling great.

“Trainers are getting a look at it. I just found out when I came in here. Knew he wasn’t feeling great all day, but that was relative to stuff and how he was executing. I know he was frustrated. So still going to find out.”