While Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers reported on time for Spring Training last week, the first weekend in camp didn’t go without hiccup as the team announced Zack Greinke received a lubricating injection in his right elbow and was temporarily shut down.
Shortly after the news, came word the procedure wasn’t serious and was one Greinke underwent in his first two springs with the club. Greinke was back on the field Sunday and Monday, playing catch both days before he ramped up his workout to a bullpen session on Tuesday — the first of the spring for the 31 year old — without any issues.
The health of Greinke’s elbow may be of significant importance to any success the Dodgers will have this season, he isn’t worrying any more than he previously has, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
It’s the same as I did last year, at the end of the year, at the beginning of the year, in the offseason and the last time I talked to you guys,” said Greinke. “There’s always a little bit of concern.”
As for his bullpen session, Greinke believes it was par for course at this stage:
Greinke made 24 pitches Tuesday, all fastballs, which he said was “normal bullpen percentage” intensity, working on “form and locating pitches. Once I get that down, move to other things. You try to do that right away and don’t really move forward.”
By this point in camp, pitchers have thrown multiple bullpen sessions and although the right-hander has fallen behind, he’s not concerned:
He said he expects to pitch at least one more bullpen session before throwing live batting practice, saying he’s “maybe three or four days behind some people. That’s not a big deal.”
Greinke’s right elbow forced the club to scratch a bullpen session between starts last August and as another precaution, had a scheduled start pushed back. Upon returning, Greinke closed out the the year 5-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his final seven starts of the regular season.
Along with remaining healthy being imperative for the Dodgers, it’s also key for Greinke’s future as he can opt out of the final three years remaining on his contract after the 2015 season to sign one more lucrative deal.
However, another year with any sort of elbow trouble and the 31 year old would be hard pressed to walk away from a guaranteed $77 million. Greinke said he’s open to holding discussions with the Dodgers over an extension during the season, but won’t decide on his opt-out clause until after the season.
While Greinke potentially leaving the Dodgers may be in the not-too-distant future, he recently spoke highly of the organization at their annual FanFest event.
Zack Greinke Isn’t Convinced The Dodgers Improved During The Offseason