Brewers scratch Greinke from Wednesday start
MILWAUKEE — Amid swirling trade rumors involving the Brewers' ace, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke announced on Monday that he would be shutting Zack Greinke down for his next start, scheduled for this Wednesday against St. Louis.
Skipping the start, Roenicke said, comes with the hope that the team can give Greinke an extended rest, especially after he made three consecutive starts for the team—the first pitcher to do that in baseball in 95 years. His last two starts — after his first went for just two outs — were particularly ineffective, as he gave up eight earned runs in eight innings of action. Overall, however, Greinke has been one of Milwaukee's best pitchers, with a 9-3 record and a 3.57 ERA.
Roenicke took responsibility for being forced to skip his start, admitting that the decision to start him all three of those consecutive games was a mistake.
"We tried to do something with Zack that I think Zack thought was kind of neat," Roenicke said. "We thought it would work, which was to have him to start the back-to-back games, after the game that he was thrown out. And we tried to get him to be the first guy back after the break because we wanted him to be the first guy out. We thought he was pitching the best of our starters. And it didn't work. He didn't pitch well that second day … He didn't pitch well the other day.
"So he didn't feel the same. He just didn't feel right. We kind of got him out of his routine, and the All-Star break didn't help because he didn't have a bullpen in between that start. To try and get him back on track for the second half — and we know its important for him to pitch well for us — we bumped him a start."
Greinke didn't approach the Brewers manager to ask for any time off, but Roenicke said on Monday that Greinke mentioned after his last start that he didn't feel right during the game.
At his locker before Monday's game, Greinke's body language indicated a definite sense of frustration in light of the situation. He said that he was feeling physically healthy. But he was mum on nearly every other topic, refusing to go off book from anything his manager said on the issue.
"I don't have much to say about it," Greinke said. "Just trying to get back to pitching good again and help us win some games. Pretty much we talked about it, and I said I was going to go with whatever (Roenicke) said, so there were no mixed words. And that's about it."
Roenicke pointed to the effectiveness of Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo in Sunday's start, after Gallardo sat out for nine days. Gallardo struck out a career-high 14 batters in Milwaukee's win over Pittsburgh, giving them a 2-1 series win. If all goes as planned, with Greinke coming back for his next scheduled start, he'll pitch next in Philadelphia on July 24.
The timing of the move is particularly peculiar though, considering the trade rumors involving Greinke, which have picked up in recent weeks. The trade deadline is July 31.
But Roenicke made it clear that there wasn't anything to read into the situation. He added that he does indeed need to think about trade value at times, but assured the media that he had talked to general manager Doug Melvin, which he always does when bumping a starter.
"I know you guys are wanting to make a huge thing out of this," Roenicke said, "but I think this is the right way to do it, instead of bumping him back a couple days.
"It's really to give him a rest going into the second half. Obviously, we need this guy. We need all our starters to pitch well, and … somewhere in the middle of the season, we wanted him to get a break."
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