Dodgers' Zack Greinke pitches against the Chicago White Sox earlier… (Paul Sancya / Associated…)
This is what spring is for, all this getting in shape and testing out of new things. Trouble for Zack Greinke and the Dodgers is, that is supposed to happen early in spring, not its final week.
But set back by an inflamed elbow, the $142-million man made just his third start of the season Monday and his first since March 1.
It did not make for the prettiest of outings, Greinke allowing five runs on six hits and three walks in his three-plus innings in the Dodgers’ 8-2 loss to the Royals in Surprise, Ariz.
Results, of course, are hardly the most important thing for Greinke at the moment. What’s important is simple health, and reports are he came out of his outing with his elbow still attached.
Greinke, who had an injection of platelet-rich plasma into his inflamed elbow March 11, had thrown 43 pitches against White Sox minor leaguers on Wednesday and came away confident he would be ready to pitch the first week of the season.
Greinke was hardly sharp Monday, though he did strike out three Royals. He threw 64 pitches, 40 for strikes. He left after walking the bases loaded in the fourth, but told reporters in Arizona his elbow felt fine and he still expected to be ready to start the season. He is schedule to make one final spring appearance Friday against the Angels.
Matt Guerrier relieved Greinke and allowed all three inherited runners to score. He was charged with two more runs the next inning.
Offensively, the Dodgers could not do much against the young Royals, who have put together baseball’s best spring record (22-6). The Dodgers managed eight hits against six Kansas City pitchers.
And on your daily Yasiel Puig update: he went 1-for-2 to lower his spring batting average to .526.
Chad Billingsley throws curveballs in bullpen session
A week until opener and Dodgers still facing unanswered questions
Spring days dwindle and Dodgers still with eight starting pitchers