Zack Greinke has already been ruled out for the Dodgers’ season-opening series in Sydney, Australia (March 22-23) due to a mild right calf strain that he suffered on the second-to-last day of February.
But the right-hander could be ready to rock for the club’s first game back in the United States.
According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, Greinke threw off a mound Wednesday afternoon in Dodgers camp for the first time since leaving his Cactus League debut with that strained calf. Greinke is scheduled to throw off a mound again on Thursday and could return to the Dodgers’ spring rotation next week.
Greinke, who made it known last month that he was not excited for the Dodgers’ Australian trip, will presumably be a candidate to pitch March 30 in San Diego. That’s the Padres’ regular-season opener.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.