The Los Angeles Dodgers played their sixth Spring Training game on Monday, which ended in a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics and more struggles for Clayton Kershaw. However, the outcome was quickly forgotten as it appears the Dodgers may have a more pressing matter to concern themselves with.
After the game, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported Dodgers manager Don Mattingly all but declared Zack Greinke would be unavailable for the Opening Series in Australia due to his calf strain:
Greinke pretty much ruled out for Australia by Mattingly. "He's not going to be 90 pitches by that time."
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) March 3, 2014
At the time of the injury, both the Dodgers and Greinke didn’t believe the calf strain was serious. Despite that initial belief, the injury is at the very least serious enough to keep him out of the games that are just under three weeks away. If Greinke is unavailable to pitch, Hyun-Jin Ryu would be all but guaranteed to start one of the two games, if not the first game. Ryu recently told ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon that would be ready to pitch if called upon.
Should Mattingly make the decision to not send Kershaw to the mound in Sydney, it would likely result in Josh Beckett or Dan Haren starting one of the games, which isn’t something many would have predicted heading into Spring Training. The Arizona Diamondbacks announced their starters for the two-game series will be Trevor Cahill and Patrick Corbin, with Corbin scheduled to start game one.
How long Greinke will be sidelined by the calf strain is unclear. When considering the bigger picture, the smart play would be to not rush Greinke back so that the risk of re-injury increases. The Dodgers certainly want to start the 2014 season on a high note but sacrificing one or two early season starts from Greinke may be a required.
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