Oblique injury forces Greinke from game after 2 innings

PHOENIX — Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke left Tuesday’s game after two innings with tightness in his left oblique. When he will return to the mound is really anyone’s guess at this point.

Greinke believes he tweaked something taking an off-balance swing in the second inning of an eventual 4-3 loss. But he didn’t feel anything was amiss until be started to warm up for the third.

After two warm-up pitches he quickly summoned the home plate umpire and D-backs manager Chip Hale and head trainer Ken Crenshaw. After a brief conversation, Greinke jogged to the home dugout to rub some warming gel on his left side, hoping it would fix the ailment. After three more warm-up pitches the oblique still wasn’t right and Hale signaled for Randall Delgado in the bullpen.

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale (right) removes Zack Greinke from Tuesday’s game in the third inning because of tightness in the pitcher’s left oblique.

"I always have stuff get tight, but this was a little different," Greinke said.

The team will know more in the coming days as to how much time they will be without their $206.5 million pitcher.

"It’s something where maybe he misses a start, possibly not miss a start," Hale said. "Possibly, if it’s the worst, maybe 15 days on the DL. You never know."

Greinke had to twist and reach back to field a toss from Paul Goldschmidt while covering first base on a bang-bang play in the first inning, and he lunged and bent over slightly while connecting for a sacrifice fly in the second. Greinke said he thinks it was the swing on which the damage was done.

He tried to loosen the muscle with some heating ointment midway through his ensuing warmup.

"When I went back out I realized it wasn’t something that heat would make better," Greinke said. "Something was wrong and at the time I didn’t know if it was a good idea or not, to do what we did. Afterwards, it was the right move. More than likely, I would have hurt myself a lot worse.

"Hopefully it’s nothing major. We’ll find out in a couple days. Hopefully it’s nothing much at all and I continue pitching good."

Greinke allowed one run — on an RBI single from Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff — and four hits in his two innings. He was 7-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his previous eight starts. The D-backs won all eight of those starts.

Hale before the game said the team was not going to alter its rotation in the coming week so Greinke could pitch against the NL West-leading Giants on Sunday (and again the following weekend). Thursday’s off day would allow the right-hander to pitch on regular rest and give lefty Robbie Ray an extra day of rest.

The team undoubtedly will be cautious with the All-Star break looming July 11-14.

"We’re not going to mess around with it," Hale said. "When you get into the oblique, the rib cage area, you have to be very careful.

"If you go out and really yank it bad you’re talking about a month or two. We’ll hope for the best-case scenario."

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