Dodgers' Zack Greinke pitches only two innings

Dodgers right-hander Greinke is a little behind after getting an injection in his elbow early in camp

Zack Greinke says he should be ready for the beginning of the regular season.

Whereas Clayton Kershaw pitched three innings in his second start of the spring, Greinke pitched only two against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday because his throwing program was delayed by an injection he received in his elbow early in camp.

"I felt really good today, health-wise at least," Greinke said. "I've got a start in five days and should be good to go. Health-wise, definitely a positive."

Greinke, who is expected to make four more starts during the exhibition season, gave up two runs, two hits, two walks and hit a batter in the first two innings of a 4-3 loss to the Cubs.

"I missed a lot of balls by an inch or so off the plate," he said. "A lot of them were really close but not quite there. That doesn't happen very often during the season."

Greinke said he especially had trouble with his slider.

"I'm kind of trying to make my slider a little better than it was last year and it really hasn't worked too much, so I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to keep trying to make it better or just go back to last year's slider," he said. "It looks good, but I gave up more hits than normal. Maybe it's just limited at-bats and if there were 1,000 at-bats on it, it would even out and end up being good. I just know the results weren't as good as normal."

Middle man?

Yasiel Puig started in center field and made a spectacular catch in the fourth inning, leaping into the wall to prevent an extra-base hit by Anthony Rizzo.

"Honestly, depending on how things go, he's an option in center," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Puig finished last season as the everyday center fielder, playing 52 games there.

The Dodgers prefer for Puig to play right field, where they project him as an elite defender. But for that to happen, rookie Joc Pederson would have to claim the starting center-field job.

Pederson started in left field Wednesday to prepare him for the unexpected.

"We want to make sure they've been in different positions out there," Mattingly said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Unexpected turn

Teenage left-hander Julio Urias was scheduled to pitch two innings in relief of Greinke, but he faced only four batters.

Urias, 18, started the third inning by giving up consecutive singles to Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Miguel Montero. He was visited on the mound by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, then the next hitter, Chris Coghlan, hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Rizzo.

His pitch count at 26, Urias was removed from the game and replaced by David Huff.

"He still is an 18-year-old in big league camp, with a pretty good reputation where he's going to get guys ready to go," Mattingly said. "This is good for him."

Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandez

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