Five years ago, or even longer, Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers hinted that his future would be in the National League. He liked hitting too much to be stuck in the AL, waiting for the rare interleague opportunity to step into a batter's box. It's a nice perk to go along with the $159 million he's getting from the Dodgers. And they're getting rewarded, too.
After going 1 for 2 on Sunday, he's batting .347 with an OPS over .800. He also became the only pitcher in the majors this season to steal a base for the second time, something that hadn't been done since 2007 when Orlando Hernandez did it for the Mets.
Greinke took off in the fifth inning, stealing second base against right-hander Tyson Ross, whose tall frame, big leg kick and slow delivery were ripe for the plucking for a smart baserunner. With the score tied 1-1 with two outs and Carl Crawford batting, the situation also made sense for Greinke to use his pickup basketball game speed in order to get into scoring position.
Nick Hundley's throw was high and Greinke — who went in head-first, which might have scared manager Don Mattingly a little — clearly made it to the bag in time. Via the Associated Press, Greinke said:
''It was a last-minute decision. I felt it was safer than going feet first. He didn't put his foot or knee in front of the bag. A tight game at the moment, so I thought it was important to get to second base. It ended up working fine.''
Crawford couldn't bring in Greinke, but it was the right idea. The Dodgers won the game 2-1 anyway, with Greinke turning in another strong start on the mound, too, getting offensive support by way of a home run from Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers went 23-6 in August, their best month for wins since moving to L.A. in 1958, and are 1-0 in September so far.