After dancing around the topic the last few days, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly finally made it official Tuesday night: Zack Greinke will make his return on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Mattingly admitted Monday that he was a little concerned that Greinke might get re-injured, as his broken collarbone still isn’t fully healed. The right-hander doesn’t have any pain, though, so the club has decided that getting their co-ace back into the rotation as soon as possible is worth the risk of another mishap. The 29-yearold will make his return not even five weeks after surgery, which is over three weeks sooner than originally expected.
Greinke threw 80 pitches in his lone rehab start, so he’s not ready to shoulder a full pitch count yet. He also struggled in the outing at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, allowing eight runs -- three earned -- over 4 1/3 innings. However, despite the relatively limited pitch count and not having appeared in a major league game in over a month, Greinke is a must-start for fantasy owners in his first outing back.
The Dodgers got some other good news Tuesday concerning their pitching staff, as Ted Lilly (rib cage) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday. He could be an option to rejoin the rotation next week should Josh Beckett’s groin ailment turn out to be worse than originally expected.
Also of note is that the Dodgers are reportedly close to signing Jonathan Sanchez. I’ll let you decide whether that qualifies as good or bad news.
Cueto “Feeling Ready” After Latest Rehab Start
If it’s up to Johnny Cueto, his next start will come in a Reds uniform.
The right-hander breezed through five shutout innings Tuesday in a rehab start with Low-A Dayton, allowing three hits and no walks while recording four strikeouts. Cueto’s pitch count (58) was so low that he needed to throw an additional 23 pitches in the bullpen after the appearance in order to get him stamina up. He hit 94 mph on the radar gun.
Much like the Dodgers did with Greinke, the Reds have held off on officially announcing when Cueto would rejoin the rotation. Cueto told the Cincinnati Enquirer after Tuesday’s outing that he was “feeling ready,” and it would be a surprise if he’s not activated from the disabled list early next week.
The more suspenseful situation is in regards to who he will replace in the rotation. Tony Cingrani (2.89 ERA, 37/7 K/BB ratio over 28 innings) has certainly out-pitched Mike Leake (4.32 ERA, 28/12 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3 innings) this season. However, Cingrani is dealing with some minor shoulder soreness, resulting in his next start being pushed back at least a day. The shoulder doesn’t appear to be a big issue, but also of note is that manager Dusty Baker has admitted that he’s skeptical Cingrani can continue to survive essentially with one pitch.
“You can get by with basically one pitch -- he’s throwing 95 percent fastballs -- but the second time through and third time through, it’s even tougher because they know the action on your ball,” Baker recently said in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s going to have to come up with a secondary pitch ...”
Ultimately, it’s still probably Leake that gets the boot, as it’s hard to ignore the gap in his and Cingrani’s performances over the last month. The schedule also lines up better for Cueto to slide into Leake’s spot, as Leake is currently slated to pitch next Monday, which would give Cueto five days of rest before his next start.
Closer Change in La La Land?
On Monday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Brandon League was still his closer. His actions Tuesday told a different tale.
After Adam LaRoche banged Clayton Kershaw’s 132nd pitch into center field with two outs, Mattingly decided it was time to pull his starter from the 2-0 game. But it was Kenley Jansen, not League, who he turned to to get out of the jam. Jansen came through, striking out Tyler Moore on four pitches.
Jansen has a 2.25 ERA and 28/5 K/BB ratio over 20 innings this season, while League sports a 6.28 mark and 7/4 K/BB ratio over 14 1/3 frames. League has also been scored upon in six of his last seven appearances. Given those numbers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Mattingly decided to make a change in the ninth inning. But why (mildly) support League and then not use him in the next save situation?
Regardless, it’s looking like Jansen is the guy to own of the two for saves going forward.
National League Quick Hits: Bryce Harper is considered day-to-day after being diagnosed with a bruised left shoulder and left knee after X-rays came back negative ... Patrick Corbin tossed seven shutout innings Tuesday to lower his ERA to 1.52 for the season. He’s 6-0 and would be 8-0 if not for a pair of J.J. Putz blown saves ... Heath Bell rebounded from a blown save Sunday to nail down Corbin’s win, striking out two Braves hitters in a scoreless frame ... Carlos Gonzalez went 5-for-5 with a pair of solo homers in Tuesday’s win over the Cubs. He’s got nine bombs for the season ... Carlos Villanueva allowed seven runs over five innings against the Rockies Tuesday. There’s a good chance he’ll be removed from the rotation when Matt Garza (lat) returns, which could be next week ... Homer Bailey whiffed 10 Marlins hitters in a complete game Tuesday, allowing two runs in the process ... John Gast allowed four earned runs over six innings in his major league debut Tuesday but earned his first MLB win ... Mark Ellis (quad) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Chattanooga on Friday and should return next week ... Roy Oswalt will join Double-A Tulsa next week as long as Saturday’s extended spring training start goes well ... Mets prospect Zack Wheeler is experiencing soreness in his clavicle and will visit a doctor in New York. It doesn’t appear to be serious, but it won’t help his chances of being called up soon ... Chris Heisey re-strained his right hamstring on Monday at Double-A Pensacola and has been pulled off his rehab assignment ... FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Brewers made a long-term offer to shortstop Jean Segura ... Brandon Beachy (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett Sunday ... Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 over 8 2/3 scoreless inning against the Nats Tuesday. He threw a career-high 132 pitches in the process ...
American League Quick Hits: Jered Weaver (elbow) will throw another bullpen session and is expected to need 2-3 rehab starts before rejoining the Angels' rotation, meaning he likely won’t return until early June ... Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said it "would not surprise me" if Jose Reyes (ankle) returned in late June, which would be a few weeks earlier than expected ... Curtis Granderson was 0-for-3 but walked and scored a run in his return from the DL Tuesday ... Mike Trout hit his seventh homer and stole his seventh base Tuesday versus the Royals ... Matt Moore allowed a three-run homer to David Ortiz in the first inning Tuesday but was essentially untouched the rest of the way as he moved to 7-0 ... Ortiz homered Tuesday despite the fact that he’s dealing with a sore oblique. He’ll continue to play through the ailment ... Scott Kazmir was knocked around for four runs on six hits and two walks over five innings in Tuesday's loss to the Phillies ... Jim Johnson snapped a franchise-record 35-straight save streak when he blew an opportunity Tuesday against the Padres ... R.A. Dickey struck out 10 while allowing two runs over six innings in Tuesday’s win over the Giants ... The Rangers are optimistic that A.J. Pierzynski (oblique) will be ready for activation from the disabled list on May 21 when he’s first eligible ... Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that Kevin Gausman is "not a candidate" to be called up soon ... Coco Crisp (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the disabled list back Wednesday, while Chris Young (quad) is expected on Friday ... Jose Altuve will be away from the team until Saturday while on the bereavement list ... Andrew Bailey (biceps) felt fine during a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday and should be activated within a week or so ... Travis Hafner needs an MRI on his ailing right shoulder ... Sergio Santos will be out until the second half after having surgery to remove bone chips and spurs from his right elbow ... Jair Jurrjens will be called up from Triple-A Norfolk to start Saturday against the Rays ...