PHOENIX -- The title of highest-paid right-hander in baseball history was taken from Zack Greinke this week, but he had no problem with it.
Asked about the seven-year, $175-million contract Felix Hernandez signed with the Seattle Mariners, Greinke said, “He’s worth it. I’ll tell you right now, he’s a better pitcher than I am.”
Greinke signed a six-year, $147-million deal with the Dodgers in December.
On the day Dodgers pitchers and catchers held their first workout of the spring, Greinke downplayed the expectations he will face this season as a result of the contract.
“Every year there’s pressure,” Greinke said. “Every year it’s different. The way I’m going about it is doing what I can do. If you do good, then that would be great. But if I suck and did everything I felt I could do, I can’t get mad about that.”
Greinke also didn’t think much of the expectations faced by the Dodgers.
“Everybody has high expectations for themselves,” he said. “This is the first day. I don’t have a vibe of what people are feeling. I think we’re going to be pretty good. At the same time, every team I’ve been on has felt the same thing. I’ve never had the outside pressure change my thought process.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu was at the end of a line of pitchers that ran around the team’s complex. As Ryu shuffled past more than two dozen South Korean journalists who were there to chronicle his every step, he said to them between gasps, “So fast.”
The reporters laughed.
Ryu, who has demonstrated a good sense of humor over the first two days of camp, appeared completely unshaken by where he finished on the team’s morning run. The 6-foot-2 left-hander, who appears heavier than his listed weight of 215 pounds, said he wasn’t worried about his conditioning.
“I’m still really healthy and all that matters is how I pitch,” he said though interpreter Martin Kim.
Ryu noted the difference between American and Korean training methods.
“I realized today that in America, when they do long-distance running, they run really fast,” he said. “But in Korea, long-distance running means exactly that: They run for a long distance but not that fast. Here, it’s like they’re running at full speed.”