Dodgers starter Zack Greinke is not going to get too up or down based on a couple of early spring-training appearances. This is the 12th year the right-hander, who made the major leagues as a 20-year-old with the Kansas City Royals, has pitched in big league exhibition games.
So he didn't overreact to his first start exhibition start last Wednesday, in which he pitched two innings and gave up two runs, two walks, two hits and hit one batter.
On Monday, he went out for a second time in the Dodgers’ 10-5 win over the Oakland A’s at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, and if his results weren’t exactly uplifting, they were at least encouraging.
Greinke went three innings, giving up one run, one hit and a walk, and he struck out two. The run came on a solo homer by Josh Phegley to lead off the third.
The Dodgers trailed until their young players took over in the eighth, which must have proved plenty uplifting. Darnell Sweeney hit a grand slam, Scott Schebler hit a three-run shot and Chris Heisey a solo homer in the eight-run inning.
Just like that, the Dodgers were in control.
It was the second home run of the spring for Sweeney and for Schebler, and they now lead the team with six runs batted in each. Last year both were at double-A Chattanooga. A game that was looking like an uneventful loss for the Dodgers, suddenly left the team a happy 8-2-4 in spring, carrying the best record in the Cactus League.
That army of arms trying to win a spot in the bullpen suffered one setback Monday. Chris Hatcher, unscored upon in his first three outings, had his first rough outing. He gave up three runs, two hits and a walk in one inning.
Otherwise, the bullpen was again very effective. Joel Peralta threw a perfect inning in his second appearance, striking out two; same for Chad Gaudin an inning later. Yimi Garcia threw a scoreless seventh, allowing one hit.
The bullpen didn’t struggle again until David Huff allowed a run in the ninth in his second inning of work.
If Greinke was getting his work in, the kids and the bullpen hopefuls were having just a fine day.