Diamondbacks’ Greinke effective in first spring start
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Zack Greinke’s first spring training start Friday wasn’t about any results or the outcome, his manager stressed beforehand. For new Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, it was simply about watching his ace go to work.
Not that Greinke’s results weren’t at least a little important. The veteran right-hander was limited to 33 pitches, but struck out one, walked one and allowed an infield hit in 1 2-3 innings against his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
”Nice to see Zack get out there and I thought he was very effective with several pitches,” Lovullo said. ”I know there’s more in there, but from where he’s at and the process he’s following, it was a great outing.”
Greinke was the last projected Diamondbacks starting rotation member to pitch in a game this spring but is on track to make several starts before the end of the month.
”It was all right. I guess typical first outing, a little sloppy,” Greinke said. ”Some OK stuff but just a little rusty. … That’s kind of what you’d expect the first outing a little bit.”
Greinke threw a 90 mph fastball on a full count past Corey Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, for his lone strikeout. He was taken out of the game after giving up an infield single to the Dodgers’ Andrew Toles.
”It kind of came and went,” Greinke said of his control. ”First couple of batters it was good, then it got a little worse and then it got a little better. That’s normal, I guess, also.”
Greinke had only thrown in workouts until Friday. He is coming off what was for him a disappointing 2016 season.
Greinke went 13-7 with a 4.63 ERA, hampered by oblique and shoulder injuries that limited him to 158 2-3 innings, his fewest since 2007. That came after a 19-3, 1.99 ERA season with the Dodgers in 2015 that helped him land a six-year, $206.5 million contract with Arizona.
More was expected, and Greinke didn’t deliver based upon his previous success though he did have a stretch of seven straight wins in May and June.
His process this spring starts with trying to get his pitches to move properly and consistently then work on command with each pitch.
”Usually the fastball is first and then it kind of develops from then on. Then try to get comfortable with guys on base,” Greinke said.
Lovullo said he was excited to watch his top starter compete from dugout level, and that Greinke had been working hard behind the scenes in preparation for Friday’s start.
”I’ve watched him from the other dugout. I know that he can do things very easily on the mound,” Lovullo said. ”The fastball command is easy for him. Spinning breaking balls and throwing pitches in the zone, it just comes very natural to him.”
Greinke’s next start will come next week, and Greinke hopes to last another inning and throw 10 to 15 more pitches. He’s already been named the Diamondbacks’ opening day starter for April 2 against San Francisco.
”I didn’t expect anything otherwise,” he said.
NOTES: Lovullo had former Navy SEAL David Rutherford, now a motivational speaker, talk to the team before Friday’s game. ”He’s a pretty special guy. He’s got an incredible story with conviction, and it’s mostly built around commitment and brotherhood,” Lovullo said. ”I thought the message was perfect for our group of guys with the concepts that are getting thrown on them.” … Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray are the scheduled starters for the next three Diamondbacks games, each set for his second spring training start.