Greinke, Lovullo happy with ace’s first appearance vs. hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Zack Greinke on Friday took one step closer toward pitching in a spring game but he is still at least another step from actually doing so.

The Diamondbacks ace threw his first live batting practice session of camp. Greinke threw mostly fastballs to minor leaguers Jack Reinheimer and Dawel Lugo, and both he and manager Tory Lovullo came away happy from the 20-pitch session.

“I feel pretty good still, so maybe could have thrown a couple more,” Greinke said. “Everything was coming out of the fingers pretty good and I felt sharp. Command was OK.

“This early in camp I’m just trying to be able to be some resemblance of a major league pitcher. Once you kind of start getting that down, then you can be a little more picky about things. But right now I’m just trying to make decent pitches.”

Greinke is not yet slated for his 2017 Cactus League debut — the D-backs play their first game Saturday against the Rockies. The right-hander first will throw another, longer batting practice session and then likely will be added to the spring rotation.

As for when exactly that could be …

“Maybe when I feel like I can start getting guys out,” Greinke said. “… Today I don’t think I’d be ready to get guys out in a game. But definitely a step closer now.”

Pitching coach Mike Butcher watched from behind Greinke, while Lovullo watched from behind home plate.

“Stuff-wise, I’m sure he wouldn’t think it was that perfect. But it looked really good to me,” Lovullo said. “Zack has such a variety of pitches that he’s going to lock it down piece by piece and he knows exactly where he’s at. For me, he looked really, really good.”

Though not as good as on Thursday during the team’s afternoon golf outing.

“Ooh, I did good at golf yesterday,” Greinke said when asked in which venue he performed better. “Probably golf, but (Friday) was definitely a step forward.”

Greinke is coming off a disappointing first season with the D-backs. He stumbled to start the year and missed time in two stretches because of injury, including what would have been his final two starts in late-September. He finished 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 158 2/3 innings.