Dodgers' Zack Greinke looks doubtful for next start

Dodgers' Zack Greinke looks doubtful for next start
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves on July 30. (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images)

The Dodgers have been having trouble digging up five healthy starters, but now it appears they’ll have to go a tad deeper.

Manager Don Mattingly refused to say Tuesday whether Zack Greinke would be able to make his next scheduled start Thursday, which is normally managerial code for: "It’s not happening."

The Dodgers’ rotation -- with the best numbers in the National League -- is suddenly looking paper thin.

Greinke mentioned some elbow soreness after his last road start, in Milwaukee on Aug. 9. He started Friday against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium, walking five in his five innings and needing 99 pitches, though claiming afterward he actually felt stronger than in Milwaukee.

But asked after Tuesday’s 8-6 win over the Padres if Greinke was still scheduled to make his next start, Mattingly said:

"Nothing that we would talk about right now. It's a possibility."

Greinke, 30, has never been on the disabled list with elbow or arm trouble. He did not throw his normal bullpen session Tuesday, but Mattingly said he had thrown during the off-day Monday.

The Dodgers already have starting pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu (strained buttock), Josh Beckett (hip impingement) and Paul Maholm (knee surgery) on the disabled list.

Presumably if Greinke is unable to take his normal start, rookie Carlos Frias would fill his spot. The Dodgers already have recent acquisitions Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia in the rotation.

Mattingly said prior to Tuesday's game that Frias would be next in line should another spot open up in the rotation, but after the game he was less forthcoming.

"Will let you know more tomorrow, if we know," he said.

If Greinke does skip a start, it will presumably be for that favorite of Dodgers' expressions -- precautionary reasons. He is still throwing as hard as ever; his recent issues have been more with control, so the elbow issue doesn't appear particularly serious.

Still, the Dodgers lead the Giants by 4 1/2 games in the National League West and can’t be looking forward to going with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Hernandez, Correia and Frias for long.