That's the painful lesson that Zack Greinke(notes) is now learning. Yes, the newest member (and potential savior) of the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff finally admitted on Tuesday that he suffered an injury to his ribs while playing pickup basketball last month.
The damage isn't minimal, either. One rib on his left side is cracked and another is bruised. The team says he'll be ready to throw again in two weeks, but he'll still need time to make up for all the training he's missed this spring while battling his sore ribs.
Translation: Though a doctor tells MLB.com that he could pitch with his injury if it were the playoffs, Greinke probably has a better chance of sinking a full-court shot than making his scheduled start on opening day. (He could miss a few starts after that, too, depending on the progress he makes after being cleared to throw in practice.)
Greinke had been nursing sore ribs throughout camp but kept saying they were feeling better and wouldn't tell us what he did other than to say "it was something stupid." Today, he admitted he was hurt playing a pickup basketball game at the outset of camp and fell on the side going for a rebound.
"I've been doing this for a couple of years now and people always said, 'You're going to get hurt.'" Greinke said. "It finally caught up to me, playing basketball. I was going up for a rebound and fell on the side. I was hoping it was just bruised. I had a lot of fun doing it, but it wasn't worth it."
Uh, yeah, you could say that. While I'm no fan of freezing the players in carbonite during the offseason — let Luke Scott lumberjack, I say — Greinke has to think a bit harder before turning into Dennis Rodman on the basketball court. Better to cherry pick around half court and just jack a couple of 3s when you're expected to be one of the main cogs in an NL Central title run and people are shaving your team's logo into their hair.
Perhaps this will only be a minor blip in Greinke's season, but maybe the rib injury turns into a nagging thing that delays his progress and bothers him the whole season. Something tells me that Alex Remington wouldn't mind revising his column about Greinke's attempt to become the sixth pitcher to win a Cy Young in both leagues had he known about his basketball jones.