Dodgers’ Zack Greinke in limbo because of sore elbow


PHOENIX — Zack Greinke said Tuesday he didn’t know whether he will be able to make his first scheduled start of the regular season for the Dodgers. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt wouldn’t speculate. Manager Don Mattingly said he thought Greinke would face the San Francisco Giants on April 2, but acknowledged that was only because he hadn’t been told otherwise.

“Anything that you are all writing, I think, is premature,” Greinke said. “Nothing’s 100% sure either way.”

A day after visiting team physician Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, Greinke returned to the Dodgers clubhouse saying he knew little about his sore right elbow.

Greinke, who signed a $147-million contract in the off-season, underwent an MRI exam last week that revealed no structural damage. ElAttrache didn’t order another MRI exam Monday, instead prescribing Greinke an injection of platelet-rich plasma and anti-inflammatory medication. But why Greinke had elbow inflammation remained a mystery, at least to him.

“I guess I didn’t really know what the problem was,” Greinke said. “I guess I still don’t. They might. But I’m not a doctor. I’m just going with what they’re saying to me.”

Mattingly and Honeycutt said they also didn’t know. The team’s medical staff was unavailable to comment, as the Dodgers are now releasing medical information on players through their media relations department.

“It was at a point where he felt he could throw, but it didn’t feel quite right,” Honeycutt said. “Our approach is, when something doesn’t feel quite right, let’s get it right first.”

What is known is this: Greinke is scheduled to play catch Friday.

But with fewer than three weeks left in spring training, Greinke might not have enough time to build the necessary arm strength to start in the first week of the season.

Greinke didn’t make his scheduled start Monday because his elbow was sore. He was scratched from his start before that because of flu.

Greinke has made only two starts this spring, pitching five innings.

Honeycutt said he wasn’t sure when Greinke could throw a bullpen session or pitch in a game.

“We have to first get him back throwing again and we’ll determine that as we go along,” Honeycutt said.

If Greinke isn’t ready to pitch April 2, so be it, Mattingly said.

“We won’t put him out there unless he isn’t ready,” Mattingly said. “We’re not going to force a square peg into a round hole.”

Short hops

Carl Crawford faced relievers Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell, marking the first time he took live batting practice since he was shut down two weeks ago. “A step in the right direction,” said Crawford, who resumed working out last week. ... At a nearby movie theater Monday night, Matt Kemp played host to a screening of “42,” a biographical film about Jackie Robinson. More than 300 people attended the screening, including teammates, minor league players and team officials. “It’s very special to our organization,” Kemp said. “I thought it was great. We know a lot about Jackie, but when you get to see it on film or on TV, it brings everything into perspective.” ... Infielders Brian Barden and Omar Luna, and outfielder Jeremy Moore were assigned to minor league camp.