Hardly a month after right-hander Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers fractured his left collarbone fighting with Padres slugger Carlos Quentin, his team scheduled him to start against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. Instead of returning eight weeks after his surgery in April, he's back in five.
Zack Greinke: Speed healer.
Greinke made a minor-league rehab start Saturday, and must figure that getting through it is enough to knock off the rust, and that there's nothing left to prove for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. His faster-than-hoped return is great news for the Dodgers, who have lacked positive results in starting the season 16-22. But every bit of good news for the Dodgers seems to bring with it some bad.
The Los Angeles Times writes that right-hander Josh Beckett, who is troubled by a sore groin, might take Greinke's spot on the disabled list. Regardless, Greinke is ready to step off tonight at Dodger Stadium:
“He feels like he’s ready,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “His stuff tells us he’s ready. He didn’t think he was going to get anything more out of a minor league start.”
The Dodgers are going to have to make a roster move Wednesday to activate Greinke, and Beckett (0-5, 5.91 ERA) came out of his start Tuesday after three ineffective innings, Mattingly saying he tweaked a groin covering first.
The Dodgers don’t have to make that decision until Wednesday, but Beckett going on the DL is certainly an option.
Beckett hasn't been quite as bad as his ERA shows. He's pitched into some bad luck. And a sore groin might help to explain why he hasn't been able to get himself out of jams. At this point in his career, when he's not throwing 97 mph anymore, stuff like this matters more.
If the Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw, Greinke and Beckett healthy and clicking by midseason (we're about a quarter through now), there's every reason to think they'd be able to put on a good playoff push in the second half.
The only question with Greinke for tonight is, if Bryce Harper of the Nationals is back in the lineup, will he just randomly run into one of his fastballs?