For Zack Greinke, the Arizona Diamondbacks ace, his current period on the disabled list remains unsettling and frustrating.
It’s been nearly a month since Zack Greinke, the ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff, threw a baseball competitively. Now, by his own admission, the process continues as a frustrating and protracted experience.
In speaking with the media for the first time since he went down with an oblique strain three weeks ago, Greinke labeled the entire process as, “frustrating. That’s a perfect word.” For now, the $206 million man can only wait and hope his injury repairs in a timely manner.
Traditionally, that’s not the case with an oblique injury. That’s because the healing process differs from each individual, and the slightest strain can exacerbate the condition. For now, Greinke can only take measured steps and procure the highest precaution.
“It would have been nice to get back a week ago,” he said Wednesday morning in the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse. “Going forward, if it doesn’t feel good throwing, then I won’t throw.”
Throughout the season, manager Chip Hale, the coaching staff and medical team of the Arizona Diamondbacks have responded to Greinke in a different matter than most players. Given Greinke’s track record of success and his extremely high level of dedication and preparation, Greinke has been pretty much left alone. While he has developed a strong relationship with catcher Welington Castillo, Greinke is essentially quiet and isolated to view video, work between starts and game-day preparation.
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“(Greinke) knows his body as well as anyone, and he’ll let us know when he’s ready,” said Hale. “However, the decision to give him the ball again will be made in consultation with the trainers and team officials.”
Greinke injured his oblique on June 28 in a game against the Phillies in Chase Field. One theory presented is that Greinke strained the oblique while batting. Another speculation suggests Greinke sustained the injury while running on the bases in that game. In any event, he lasted only two innings in an eventually 4-3 defeat. Since, Greinke has measured his time, and says his perspective on games is different.
“I’m watching games more carefully,” he said. “I’ve developed more of an educational view on what’s going on.”
Just before he threw before Wednesday’s home stand finale against Toronto, Greinke pointed out his physical activity is laced with caution and thoughtfulness. Always exact in his approach, the fear for Greinke, and all athletes trying to recover from a protracted injury, is aggravation and increased irritation.
After meeting with the media, Greinke repaired to the playing field, and proceeded to engage in long toss. At first, he started at a short distance and gradually expanded his range from nearly center field to the left field foul line. Then, he threw off the mound in the bullpen for about 10 minutes.
While there remains no timetable for his return, his presence back in the rotation should help to solidify a group of starters now in a constant state of flux and instability.