Greinke breaks rib playing basketball

As fragile as pitchers are, Brewers ace Zack Greinke did not get hurt throwing a baseball.

Greinke, the team’s biggest offseason acquisition, injured his ribs playing basketball about two weeks ago, and is expected to miss at least his first three starts in the regular season.

An MRI on Monday revealed that Greinke suffered a hairline fracture in one rib and a bruise in another when he fell to the ground on his left side after grabbing a rebound.

Greinke had an ice pack wrapped around his ribs after his first spring training start. When reporters asked him what was wrong, he said, “Let’s just say it was something really stupid,” but did not otherwise reveal what had happened.

“I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now,” Greinke said of playing basketball. “People are always saying you’re going to get hurt. It finally caught up to me . . . it wasn’t worth it.”

Brewers team physician William Raasch said Greinke could pitch through his discomfort if the team was in the postseason. But the Brewers do not want to risk Greinke incurring further injury in spring training.

"I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was," Greinke said. "I was thinking it was just a bruise and pitching through it. But there’s a lot more negative to pitching with it than there is positive."

The Brewers revealed the injury on Tuesday. Greinke could resume throwing in about two weeks, but then would need to work himself back into game condition.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the team will need a fifth starter only three times in the first 3-1/2 weeks of the season. The club likely will fill the void from within, perhaps using multiple pitchers in Greinke’s spot.