Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, the biggest pitching acquisition in free agency this past off-season, could miss the start of the regular season with an elbow injury.
Greinke missed consecutive exhibition starts with elbow soreness and was forced to travel to Los Angeles, where team doctors ran proper tests on his throwing arm. The consensus from physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache was that inflammation in the back of the elbow was what caused the discomfort.
The Dodgers assured anyone who cared to listen that Greinke’s injury was not a big deal, and it would not delay his status for the start of the regular season — or so they thought.
Greinke himself stated that he was not sure if the tenderness in his elbow would be enough to prevent him from playing.
“Anything that you are all writing, I think, is premature,” Greinke told the Los Angeles Times. “Nothing’s 100 percent sure either way.”
The good news is that a MRI showed no structural damage, which means Greinke would only miss a minimum amount of time at the beginning of the season. Regardless, if the anti-inflammatory medicine does not work over the next three weeks, there is no way the Dodgers will send Greinke to the mound with a sore throwing arm.
“We won’t put him out there unless he is ready,” manager Don Mattingly said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not going to force a square peg into a round hole.”
The fact that Greinke can currently throw is a good sign. It is just that something does not feel right when he winds up and releases the pitch. However, that can be taken care of with a little rest, along with taking the proper medication.
If I had to guess, I would say Greinke should be available for his start on April 2 against the San Francisco Giants. He is a tough player who will not go down without a fight.
If he thinks he can make the start, then he is going to take the mound without any hesitation. He would have to be in serious discomfort not to feel confident in his ability.