Invest a cool $147 million in the off-season into a starting pitcher and one of the first things he does is show up in spring training complaining that his elbow is sore, and an organization is allowed to hold its breath.
Dodgers, seems you can exhale.
Zack Greinke didn’t think the elbow tenderness was any big deal, but when a team is making that kind of an investment, precaution becomes the order of the day, and Greinke was temporarily shut down.
In his first game back, he gave up five runs on six hits in just three innings. More held breaths.
But Saturday against the Angels in the final spring game of the season, Greinke started to resemble his former Cy Young-self. In five innings, he held the Angels to one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out five, and then proclaimed himself ready, or at least close enough.
“I felt good today,” Greinke said. “I always like to have two or three good starts before you feel confident. But I’m ready to go.”
The final spring game otherwise threatened to prove uneventful until Hank Conger’s ninth-inning, two-out home run off minor league reliever Yimi Garcia left the Angels with a 2-1 victory.
The Dodgers scored their lone run off Tommy Hanson in the first without benefit of a hit. Carl Crawford walked, stole second, went to third on a Mark Ellis groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Kemp.
The Angels scored their run off ex-teammate Greinke in the third when Chris Iannetta opened with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Mike Trout’s groundout.
“I just wanted to get out as many people as possible and try to ready for the season,” Greinke said. “I felt pretty good. The fastball felt good today, better than the last game. I felt the pitch mix was pretty good.”
Greinke said he didn’t feel any major relief about how his elbow has responded because he wasn’t all that concerned initially.
“It wasn’t that bad in the first place,” he said. “Just precautions.
“It should be fine. But I can’t predict the future. I guess it could happen again.”