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Dodgers push Zack Greinke's next start back because of sore elbow

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke will not start Thursday because of soreness in his elbow
Clayton Kershaw will start Thursday for the Dodgers as Zack Greinke rests elbow

So Zack Greinke has an elbow problem, but not a particularly serious one?

The Dodgers announced before Wednesday’s game that Greinke would not take his regular turn Thursday but will be pushed back to Saturday to give his tender elbow a bit more time to calm down.

Greinke, however, apparently has been experiencing the soreness for some time. Manager Don Mattingly said the right-hander had an MRI on the elbow before the last road trip.

“He had an MRI like two weeks ago and it didn’t show anything different than when we first signed him, so everybody felt good about that,” Mattingly said. “We’re just basically trying to take precautions.”

Clayton Kershaw will start Thursday in Greinke’s place. With Monday’s off-day, Kershaw will be pitching with his normal five days' rest.

Greinke seems to think the injury may linger, but is not serious enough to warrant the disabled list.

“It’s nothing like a ligament. It’s something that comes and goes," he said. "I can’t guarantee it will be good from here on out, but I don’t plan on having issues with it.

“I expect to pitch at a 100-percent level, but I don’t expect to feel 100 percent.”

Greinke mentioned some unspecified discomfort after his Aug. 9 start in Milwaukee, but took his regular turn Friday. He lasted only five innings, needing 99 pitches. He walked five but did not allow a run, and afterward said he felt stronger than in his previous start.

Still, the Dodgers figure the extra couple of days can only help. Mattingly said Greinke overcame similar elbow tenderness in the spring of 2013.

“He’s had some little elbow discomfort,” Mattingly said. “Basically, it’s like what he had in spring training last year. I don’t think it’s anything. … He’s not that concerned. He kinda notices everything, like all these guys do. I don’t think he really wanted to miss a start but we felt like we’re better off giving him a couple extra days for the long term.”

The Dodgers have two off-days next week and then three more in September. Mattingly said Kershaw may next get an extra day between starts, though he was uncertain how Greinke would react to his brief reprieve. The Dodgers don’t anticipate the injury will lead to the disabled list.

“If he keeps feeling like he’s feeling now, I don’t think he thinks it’s a DL,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think anybody thinks it’s a DL. The way our off-days are set, depending how each one goes, that will determine if we try to give him extra rest or not.”

This, of course, has been a horrific year for pitchers’ elbows. Someone seems to be having a Tommy John operation almost daily. Mattingly, however, seemed confident Greinke’s situation was not nearly as dire.

“I think Zack is pretty honest and up front about everything, and has a good understanding of what’s going on,” Mattingly said. “If something would have shown damages or changes, or he was out there throwing 89 or something. He’s been throwing harder the last couple of outings than he has all year. I really haven’t gotten caught in 'this could be like everyone else’s.’ ”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

5:50 p.m.: The story has been updated with reaction from Greinke.

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