MESA, Ariz. — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Thursday that the team is evaluating how to proceed with pitcher Zack Greinke, who exited Wednesday’s spring training game with groin tightness.
Greinke was slated to pitch five innings against the Reds on Wednesday but exited after just one frame having thrown 19 pitches. Though it hadn’t been formally announced, the ace was a logical presumption to be the team’s Opening Day starter on March 29.
Lovullo said the groin issue could push back Greinke’s next bullpen, which could delay his timeline to be ready for the regular season.
“It’s a natural progression, so if you push back the bullpens it’s going to push back the start, which obviously at that point, could change his status for Opening Day,” Lovullo said.
Lovullo said the D-backs’ medical staff is treating the injury as a minimal issue, though it goes without saying that the team will be cautious with its ace.
“Obviously when you’re talking about potentially pushing him back and not having him ready for Opening Day, my concern level goes up,” Lovullo said. “But I know that we’ll have guys that we’re walking through and mapping out if it doesn’t happen. We have other guys that can step in there and that’s what this is all about.
“I know it’s going to be a situation that’s going to be a very positive outcome with the medical team we have, with the input he’s given us. I feel very strongly that he’ll be in there quick as he possibly can.”
Lovullo and the D-backs don’t want to have Greinke “playing catch-up” during the regular season and prefer that he be completely ready for regular season starting duties before he enters the rotation.
Beneficial to Arizona is a schedule quirk in the season’s first week, during which the Diamondbacks will have an extremely rare Sunday off game following their Thursday-to-Saturday series against Colorado. The off day could, in theory, help Arizona maintain its normal rotation, even if Greinke were to miss a start.
Lovullo was non-committal about what the D-backs plan to do, or what they would hypothetically do if Greinke can’t go.
“There’s a little bit of wiggle-room in there, but we haven’t determined what our course is right now,” he said. “We are well aware of that off day.”