Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Spring Training has gotten off to a rocky start for Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke – first with criticism following some comments he’d made and then continuing when he was forced to leave his first start of the spring following just four pitches with a strained calf. Things continue to get worse, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Greinke’s calf injury has likely put him far enough off schedule that he’ll be forced to miss the team’s season opening series in Australia later this month.
Greinke had been scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday and would have made his next scheduled start on Tuesday, but both outings have since been postponed to ensure that he’s 100% before he steps back onto a mound. Manager Don Mattingly would not completely rule Greinke out for the Australia trip, but he conceded that he likely will not be stretched out enough to be ready to start one of the team’s two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gurnick noted that Greinke refrained from commenting on the news. The 30 year old had made some waves a few weeks ago, publicly stating his desire not to travel to Australia for the team’s season opening series there, citing the excess travel as a concern because it would “throw off his routine”. Greinke’s dealt with social anxiety issues throughout his career, but his declaration against making the trip was not generally received well by most critics.
It remains to be seen who will end up starting the two games in Australia for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw appears to be a likely candidate for one. With Greinke out, Hyun-Jin Ryu or Dan Haren could be the most likely candidates to take the mound for the second game. Los Angeles and Arizona will play two games, March 21st and 22nd, before returning to their Spring Training homes for another week of camp prior to the full start to the 2014 season.