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Greinke follows own timetable, gets it right

Zack Greinke returned from injury sooner than expected and didn't disappoint in his first start back.

LOS ANGELES — Zack Greinke isn’t much for verbosity, usually letting his pitching do the talking. Wednesday night, though, the Dodgers $147-million right-hander was happy to comment about his performance in the Dodgers 3-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

 

“It was fun,” the former Cy Young Award winner said.


OK, so it’s maybe more of an observation than a full-fledged, in-depth comment, but Greinke did let his arm — and bat — speak volumes for him in 5 1/3 innings.

 

He gave up one run on five hits and drove in the winning run with a single to right field in the second inning as the Dodgers won their second in a row, after losing 19 of 29 following Greinke’s injury.

 

Greinke (2-0) hadn’t pitched in a major-league game since April 11 when he broke his left collarbone during a brawl in San Diego after hitting Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin.

 

“I knew something was wrong the second I started walking off the field,” Greinke said. “Something just didn’t feel right.”


He subsequently had surgery and his recovery time was projected to be anywhere from six to 10 weeks.

 

But Greinke was listening to his own timetable — not the doctor’s or Dodger training staff — and was throwing in just over a week. He said he would have been able to pitch then, but the team wasn’t going to risk its massive investment.


Instead they slowed him down and after a rehab assignment in Lake Elsinore for the Dodgers Single A team from Rancho Cucamonga, he decided not to waste any more time.

 

“I told them I was ready to go, and we all decided (this) was the night we were shooting for,” Greinke said.


Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was impressed by how much his ace righty was able to do.

 

“He gave us everything he had tonight,” Mattingly said. “He was starting to get gassed a little in the end, but he was great.

 

“It’s amazing what he was able to do tonight. To be able to give us five innings tells you just how talented he is. He really knows how to pitch. He worked hard and wanted to get back as soon as he possibly could.”

 

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez said having Greinke back is crucial as the team heads out on a road trip, beginning Friday in Atlanta.


“Obviously we need a win. We need them all right now,” Gonzalez said. “But it’s also great for us to know we have another stopper out there going every fifth day for us, and now maybe we’ll start getting healthier, too.”

 

Matt Kemp’s bat continues its revival, as he hit in his 14th consecutive game, going 2-4 and scoring a run. He raised his average to .282.


Brandon League picked up his ninth save in 10 tries for the Dodgers.