2/27/2014 4:53 P.M. ET
Greinke hurts calf, leaves start after four pitches
Dodgers right-hander believes injury to be minor, hopes to stay on schedule
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke left Thursday's exhibition game with a mild right calf strain while facing the second batter of his first Cactus League start.
"I just felt something in my calf," said Greinke. "Just try to take care of it this early in spring. Hopefully it's not a big deal. I think it's minor. We'll see in a couple of days. Right now, I don't feel too bad."
Greinke said it felt like a cramp and that when he's had them in the past, he would walk it off and the muscle would loosen. This time he took a few steps, but the discomfort remained. He said he might have been able to pitch through it if this had been the regular season, but nobody would let him continue at this point unless he was 100 percent.
Greinke was scheduled to pitch two innings, with an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen afterward. The Dodgers mapped out a schedule for starters Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren to make four Cactus League starts each and would pick two of them to start against Arizona in the Opening Series in Australia.
Greinke, who recently started a stir when he said there was "absolutely zero excitement" about going to Australia, is now likely eliminated as an option, although he disagreed.
"I definitely don't think this takes me out of the mix," he said. "Hopefully it doesn't."
Manager Don Mattingly also said Greinke could remain an Australian option, even with the compressed exhibition schedule that would allow him only three more Cactus League starts.
"It depends where it goes," Mattingly said. "He might do a 'pen in a couple of days and go from there."
Greinke also clarified his position about the Australian trip.
"If we're going to be there, and we obviously are, yes I'd like to pitch there," he said. "My comments, I didn't realize they would cause a stir. I'm looking forward to playing over there. No one wants me to say it, I had to vote to go, my vote was not to go. Now that we are going, I want to be there. I don't want the team to go and me sit here and watch. I don't want to go and watch. I want to play."
Greinke said his original comments pertained to a disruption of his routine for pitching and preparation, not anything about Australia in particular.
"I want to pitch good, I want to win games," he said. "You're forced to do what you're not used to do, it's harder to be able to do it to the best of your ability."
Greinke retired leadoff hitter Tony Campana on a fly ball to left field. On his third pitch to second baseman Cliff Pennington, Greinke followed through awkwardly. He made one more pitch and hopped more noticeably coming off the rubber.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez and catcher Tim Federowicz came to the mound, then trainer Stan Conte and Mattingly. After throwing two warmup pitches and a brief meeting, Greinke headed for the dugout, then the clubhouse as a precautionary measure for treatment.
This makes it more likely that Kershaw will indeed start Opening Day.
Greinke's Spring Training last year was slowed by discomfort in the back of his elbow, but he was ready for Opening Day, only to suffer a broken collarbone in an April brawl in San Diego and miss about a month.
Chris Withrow took over for Greinke on the mound against the D-backs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.