It appears as though Zack Greinke will not miss a turn in the Dodgers’ regular-season starting rotation.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the right-hander threw four scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon on the minor league side of Dodgers camp and reported no elbow issues. Greinke gave up only one hit and struck out two.
“My arm felt really good today,” he told reporters shortly after his outing ended. “It felt strong.”
Greinke was diagnosed about 10 days ago with inflammation in the back of his right elbow, but it’s clearly not bothering him anymore. The Dodgers have him lined up right now to make his regular-season debut on April 5 vs. the Pirates. He was originally expected to pitch on April 2 vs. the division-rival Giants, following Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw.
Greinke agreed to a six-year, $147 million free agent contract with Los Angeles over the winter.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.