Dodgers starter Zack Greinke was on a Cactus League mound Wednesday in Glendale, Arizona for the first time since straining his left calf in late February and the return went smoothly enough.
Greinke allowed three earned runs on six hits in just two innings against a Diamondbacks split-squad, but his calf survived the outing and he can now begin to work on building his pitch count up to where it needs to be for the opening of the 2014 regular season.
Greinke has already been ruled out of the Dodgers’ two-game series against the Diamondbacks in Australia (March 22-23), but he should be able to start their first game back in the United States on March 30 in San Diego.
“Everybody had to get ready faster for Australia,” Greinke told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick on Wednesday. “I have to get ready for the American games. I’ve just got to get ready as fast as I can without a setback.”
The 30-year-old right-hander posted an excellent 2.63 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 177 2/3 innings last season.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: