Blog Entry

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:55 pm

Something has been wrong with Zack Greinke this spring, and now we know what.

He's made two Cactus League starts and left people wondering whether he was fully engaged.

"I saw Greinke the other day," a befuddled veteran scout was just telling me on Monday. "His fastball was 86, 87. Something's going on. He doesn't look right."

Bingo. Now we know. Pitching with one rib fractured and another bruised is a recipe for disaster, even for a guy who won a Cy Young award as recently as 2009.

Now the question becomes, how big of a disaster will this be for the Milwaukee Brewers?

Suddenly, the only team in the majors employing three pitchers who started on opening day in 2010 is down the ace who should have started opening day in 2011.

Greinke has a hairline fracture of the seventh rib on the left side (and a bruised eighth rib), an injury that normally carries a four-to-six week recovery time. The thinking is that he suffered the injury a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps his recovery, from here, will be on the shorter side.

Maybe. Rib injuries are tricky, and the torque with which power pitchers punish their upper bodies is not for the weak. If Greinke only misses two or three starts, as the Brewers are hoping right now, you can mark it down as a large victory for both him and them.

Right now, that looks wildly optimistic. Because simple math adds up to more than a couple of missed starts. Because he will not be pitching while his ribs heal, he will need time on the mound to build his arm back up when they're healed. That will tack on extra time. Realistically, he'll probably miss at least the first month of the season.

This is highly problematical. This is a team with a finite window of opportunity that made the gutsy decision to swing for the fences in 2011. Prince Fielder is a free agent at the end of the year, and with Scott Boras as his agent, he's all but gone.

Armchair general managers were sure the Brewers should have traded Fielder over the winter to ensure that they got something in return.

Instead, they went out and acquired Greinke from Kansas City ... after they acquired starter Shaun Marcum from Toronto.

With those two, Yovani Gallardo and others backed by an offense that ranked fourth in the NL in runs scored per game last season, the Brewers are set to enter the season as strong contenders in the NL Central.

But now, the Brewers grip on 2011 is far more fragile.

The ready-made replacement for Greinke in the rotation is ... nobody. The Brewers are high on rookie Mark Rogers, but he's missed time with shoulder tightness. Manny Parra? Balky back this spring.

Sometimes with off days in the early-season schedule, clubs can get by with a four-man rotation for much of April. But the Brewers, given their schedule, need their fifth starter to make at least three starts in the season's first three weeks.

The only silver lining in this is that by missing some starts early, Greinke theoretically could be a bit stronger in September (and, the Brewers hope, in October) than he would have been otherwise.

But make no mistake. This is a serious blow to the Brewers.

No wonder Greinke had surrendered six hits and three walks -- against only three strikeouts -- in 3 1/3 innings this spring.


Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2011 1:39 pm

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

Greinke will be fine.  I love the multiple "the Cubs ar still the Cubs" comments.  I hope it stays that way, b/c if they get Pujols next year, they won't just be the Cubs anymore and St. Louis may have their own 100 year curse of the bambino 2.0.

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2011 1:36 pm

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

It's not that bad.  He'll miss a few starts.  As for his lack of dedication, I'm guessing a lot of guys in the Major Leagues play basketball.  It's well known that Cal Ripken, Jr. used to make his teammates play with him and the games would be physical and extremely competitive and he never got injured.  Also, as an ex-basketball player myself, I never saw a guy break a rib playing basketball.  This is a rare freak injury and the fact it happened to Greinke just gets amplified.  As a Brewers fan, I'm not that worried.  I just hope he recovers quickly and can put this to bed in about a month. 

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:18 am

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

The NL Central is a two team race. the Brewers and Reds. Even at full strength the Cards were in decline and the Cubs are the Cubs.
The Greinke injury is disheartening if only because the tag on him is his lack of dedication and this injury playing basketball has to make you wonder...It's only three starts at this point, but rib injuries take awhile to completely heal....
But the Reds had overacheived last season so my money is still on the Crew.

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:07 am

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

That has got to be disapointing for brewers fans.  Greinke has some issues but the price is worth it if you can keep him interested in playing baseball.  He has got some really sick stuff!!  Good luck.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2011 10:49 pm

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

Talk about a guy that mailed it in last year.....and admited it, well this looks bad.  Can you trust the guy?  Maybe he hurt himself falling down drunk on New Years?  Who's to believe the slacker?  Got no confidence in this guy turning out to be a workhorse - that's some funny %^&*!

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:20 pm

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

Talk about sounding the alarm early. It could possibly work out that Grienke misses three starts.
I swear, writers must really have a hard time for something to write about! Is it a concern? Yes. Is it time to panic over "what might happen?" Heck, no.
There will be a ton of injuries that various teams will have to deal with this year. This is just one of them.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2011 8:41 pm

Greinke: Not the way the Brewers wanted to start

The NL Central looked like it would be an incredibly tight division this year with the Reds, Brewers, Cards and Cubs....and it is probably going to be injuries that end up deciding it, unfortunately. The Cards have suffered the injury bug with Wainwright out for all 2011 and part of 2012......Carpenter, Punto, Boggs and Berkman all dealing with ouchies. Now Greinke in Milwaukee.....for who knows how long....a few starts....could be a lingering injury....who knows. THings are shaping up pretty decent for the Reds because well the Cubs are still the Cubs

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