Zack Greinke to make rehab start Friday, on track to rejoin Dodgers next week

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When Zack Greinke fractured his collarbone during a benches-clearing brawl with Padres’ outfielder Carlos Quentin on April 11, he was originally expected to miss about eight weeks. However, he’s now on track to return well ahead of schedule.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Greinke will make a minor league rehab start tomorrow with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, just a shade under four weeks removed from his surgery. Assuming all goes well, he could make his return to the Dodgers’ rotation next Wednesday against the Nationals.

Greinke stretched out to 60 pitches during his most recent bullpen session on Tuesday, so he figures to throw somewhere in the area of 75 pitches tomorrow. It’s unlikely that he’ll be ready for a full workload if he’s activated next Wednesday, but the scuffling Dodgers will take what they can get.

Greinke, who joined the Dodgers over the winter on a six-year, $147 million contract, had a 1.59 ERA and 10/1 K/BB ratio over his first 11 1/3 innings of work this season prior to the benches-clearing incident.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.