Diamondbacks News

Arizona Diamondbacks: Velocity not an issue with Zack Greinke

By Mark Brown
Mar 8, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke throws in the first inning against Mexico during a 2017 World Baseball Classic exhibition game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke throws in the first inning against Mexico during a 2017 World Baseball Classic exhibition game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Right-hander for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke, is physically on target to open the season in two weeks.

Right-hander Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks cannot be confused with Alfred E. Neuman and his famous line, “what, me worry?”

That’s a reference to the debate surrounding lack of velocity on Greinke’s fastball, and Greinke has no worries. Some contend he may have lost a few miles per hour and thus making Greinke slightly more vulnerable to hitters. With two starts remaining here in spring training, there is no concern and little worry from both Greinke and decision makers.

In one of his last spins around the baseball diamond in preparation for the season ahead, Greinke turned back Team Netherlands on Saturday with comfort and ease. Greinke went his longest of the spring, appeared in complete control, and velocity did not enter into the day’s equation. In the third, he gave up one run and that resulted from two hanging curves.

The bump in the road Saturday resulted from elevated pitches. Leading off the Netherlands third, Greinke hung a curve over the plate and second baseman Yurendall Decaster drilled a single to center. Greinke then hung a similar pitch to left-fielder Kalian Sams, who hammered a double to center and drove in the only run against Greinke.

Despite the hiccup, Greinke told Venom Strikes that he is clearly on schedule to open the season on target.

"I thought that was a good amount and I want to keep building on each start. Overall, the two-seamer was crappy, and I hoped to have a big jump from the last start. I’m okay at this point in spring training and so far, so good."

Overall, Greinke pitched a full five innings, allowed only three hits, that one run and fanned two hitters. For the outing, he threw 70 pitches (50 for strikes), and he told Venom Strikes that number was right on target.

With days in spring training dwindling, catcher Chris Iannetta, who caught Greinke Saturday, said there is no reason for any alarm about velocity.

"(Zack) is right where he needs to be. It’s about building strength and building momentum toward opening day. It’s a process, and for someone who has complete command of four-pitches, he’s right on track."

Injury updates

Manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes before Saturday’s game that center fielder A. J. Pollock is close to resuming baseball activity.

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Since tightness in his left groin forced Pollock out of last Sunday’s game with the San Francisco Giants, he has been out for the last week. That was the same injury which Pollock suffered last Sept. 9 and shut down the native of Marlborough, Conn. for the remainder of the season.

Going forward, the plan calls for Pollock to DH in a minor-league game in the coming days.

Elsewhere … left-fielder Yasmany Tomas is nursing a strained lower back. His baseball activity is limited, and Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Tomas might be doubtful for opening day. That’s Sunday, April 2 at home against the San Francisco Giants. So far this spring, Tomas is 0-for-17 and one run scored.

Catcher Josh Thole suffered a hamstring tear last Wednesday night in a game against the Chicago Cubs, and he is out for the season. Thole is expected to seek a second opinion, but his attempted comeback at the major-league level is over for now.

Last year, Thole, at 30-years-old, appeared in 50 games with Toronto and hit .169. In parts of eight season with the Mets and Jays, Thole has a career .242 batting average with nine homers and 111 RBIs.

Next: Ray preparing for season

Last year, Thole, at 30-years-old, appeared in 50 games with Toronto and hit .169. In parts of eight season with the Mets and Jays, Thole has a career .242 batting average with nine homers and 111 RBIs.

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