- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - An even quieter than usual Zack Greinke declared his return to the mound Wednesday as simply “all right.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander threw 60 pitches in an intrasquad game on a back field at the team’s spring training facility.

It was the first time Greinke had thrown in a game situation since he left a spring training game a week earlier after feeling tightness in his right groin. He recorded eight outs, allowing one run and three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Greinke threw 34 strikes. The only major league batter he faced was Chris Herrmann, who walked twice.

Generally a man of few words, Greinke was especially short when he met with reporters after.

“My groin’s pretty good at the moment,” he said of his health issue.

Manager Torey Lovullo said the team got what it needed from Greinke in his return.

“He threw all his pitches. They weren’t perfect. We know that,” Lovullo said. “And Zack is exceptional with all pitches. So was it a typical Zack outing? No. We didn’t expect it to be. He’s coming off a situation where he missed a couple of days so the fact that he got out there and executed a game plan and walked off the mound healthy, that was very important to us.”

If he feels good enough Thursday, he probably will start in one of the two exhibition games against Cleveland at Chase Field on Monday or Tuesday. That could put him in line to make his first regular season start March 30 in the finale of the three-game opening series against Colorado.

For the first time in his three seasons with the Diamondbacks, Greinke won’t be the opening day starter. Lovullo hasn’t said who will get the start but said he will do so by this weekend. The leading candidate would seem to be left-hander Robbie Ray, 15-5 last season, but the manager said all four of the starters besides Greinke are candidates.

Asked about missing opening day, Greinke said, “I’m just not capable of doing it this year. It’s too late to do anything about it now.”

Lovullo called Greinke’s injury “very minimal.”

“It was something that he felt coming on when he was walking off the mound,” Lovullo said. “He shared information with us. My gut feel is if he had two starts left in the season he probably would have gutted it out and made them. But credit to him that he spoke up and we got ahead of it and stayed on top of it.”

Greinke was 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA last season and struck out 215, second-most of his career.


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