GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) –– Zack Greinke allowed three runs and six hits over two innings Wednesday in his first start since straining his right calf nearly two weeks ago, and the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 9-2 to an Arizona Diamondbacks split squad.
Greinke was injured just four pitches into his first spring training start on Feb. 27. The right-hander said Wednesday that he would not to Australia for the Dodgers season-opening series March 22 and 23 against Arizona at Sydney Cricket Ground — a trip he initially said he did not want to make — to continue his rehab his calf and build arm strength.
Andy Marte hit a solo shot off Greinke in the second.
“I was disappointed in how the location was in the second inning,” Greinke said.
But he said his calf is improving.
“It’s feeling better every day, so that’s a positive,” said Greinke, 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA as the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter last season. “My two main goals are getting healthy and trying to get ready. Right now, I’m neither one of those quite yet. But I’m closer on the calf than I am with the actual pitching.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was not with the team because of a death in his family. Mattingly is expected to return on Friday.
Diamondbacks: Michael Lee gave up two hits in the first inning, both doubles, first to Hanley Ramirez and then Andre Ethier. But he said was happy to get out of the inning with a strikeout of Chone Figgins. He then worked two scoreless innings.
Dodgers: Greinke threw 39 pitches, 26 strikes. The calf, he said, has not healed as quickly as anticipated.
“I thought I’d be fine that day, like 100 percent in a day or two,” he said. “It just hasn’t gotten better. It’s a 10 percent pace from what I was expecting. You know it’s there. If I did more than I’m ready to do, I’d be right back where I started.”
Diamondbacks: Trevor Cahill is day to day after jamming his knee Tuesday against Cleveland. It wasn’t known whether he would make his scheduled start March 23 in the second game-of a season opening series against the Dodgers in Australia.
Dodgers: Right-hander Josh Beckett, who is competing to reclaim a spot in the starting rotation, also is expected to stay in Arizona while the Dodgers are in Sydney. Beckett’s next spring start Friday against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. is questionable because of a sprained thumb. He said he injured the thumb 10 days ago, accidentally in a closing clubhouse door. Beckett, who was rocked for five runs against Seattle Saturday, had a rib and muscle tissue removed July 10 in surgery to alleviate pressure on a nerve.
“I come back from surgery and now this,” he said. If Beckett is the No. 5 starter, he wouldn’t pitch until mid-April. “We’ve got time to get it right,” he said.
The Dodgers made their first challenge this spring under the new instant-replay rules. The call was overturned.
In the fifth inning, Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius stole second. Ramirez, the Dodgers shortstop, pointed to Gregorius and said he had taken his foot off the base in a slide. John Pratt, the Dodgers major league video coordinator this spring, was in the television truck, reviewing tape of the play. Acting manager Tim Wallach said information was relayed to him from the Dodgers dugout, which was in contact with Pratt, via walkie-talkie.
“It was clear that it was worth challenging,” said Wallach, who says in regular-season it will be his job to relay the information to Mattingly. “It’s probably one we’d do every time.”
KEMP IN THE FIELD
Matt Kemp, who is coming off micro-fracture surgery on his left ankle, played center field in minor league game Wednesday for the first time this spring.
“I’m excited to be back on the field, just playing,” he said. “That’s the process. We’re taking our time.”