With the Los Angeles Dodgers set to open the 2014 season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia on March 22, they won’t have the opportunity to play as many spring training games as the remaining 28 MLB teams. The early start has also created a quirk in the schedule that has the Dodgers returning to the United States for three exhibition games with the Los Angeles Angels from March 27-29. The Dodgers will then resume their regular season schedule on March 30 in San Diego.
The forthcoming trip to Australia isn’t something Zack Greinke, who’ll likely to be one of the two starting pitchers used in the Opening Series, is looking forward to, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it. There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.
Though not enthused, Saxon reports Greinke understands the reasoning for scheduling the international games:
It’s a baseball thing. It’s an ownership thing, spreading stuff around. That’s what it’s for and it’s for the greater good of baseball.
For better or worse, Greinke is likely a lock to pitch in Australia as the Dodgers have pondered holding Clayton Kershaw out of the two games in Australia, which would make using the left-hander for the United States and home openers much more of a reality. Conceivably, Kershaw could start in the 2014 opening game and two openers previously mentioned, but that would amount to three starts in a span of the first six games of the season. Though Kershaw just inked a new seven-year, $215 million contract, he’s also coming off having thrown a career-high 259 innings in 2013.
By comparison, Greinke threw 177.2 innings last season, a much lower total in part due to him missing roughly one month with a broken collarbone. Largely considered a No. 1 starter on nearly every other pitching staff in baseball, Greinke may be asked to assume the role of pitching staff ace in Australia.
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