Zack Greinke calls Chris Carpenter a “phony”

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Pre-series trash-talking is as rare as it is awesome in this modern era of Major League Baseball.

The Cardinals and Brewers don’t like each other. It’s a feud that goes back several years, to when the “Brew Crew” began celebrating their regular season victories by un-tucking their jerseys. Loud-mouthed center fielder Nyjer Morgan has only helped fuel that fire with his arrival in Milwaukee this year, and now another newcomer is getting in on the act.

Here’s what NLCS Game 1 starter Zack Greinke told a group of reporters Saturday when asked about the relationship between the two National League Central rivals — and specifically NLCS Game 3 starter Chris Carpenter — during a press conference at Miller Park (via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch):

“A lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter. … His attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude.”

Strong words about a 36-year-old ace, fresh off the finest pitching performance of his career. Let’s hope, for entertainment purposes, that both sides remain pissed off and talkative throughout the seven-game set.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.