Zack Greinke no fan of Dodgers' journey to Land Down Under
February 27, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
GLENDALE, Arizona -- It wouldn't bother Zack Greinke if he didn't have to travel for the Los Angeles Dodgers' opener against Arizona in Australia.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement about it,” Greinke was quoted as saying in a story by ESPNLosAngeles.com last weekend. “There just isn't any excitement to it. I can't think of one reason to be excited for it.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that organizers of the series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23 demanded an explanation from the Dodgers and Major League Baseball. Officials from the club and MLB assured them Monday that Greinke was speaking for only himself and not the entire team, according to the newspaper.
Greinke hasn't talked to other media about the comments. He told ESPN Los Angeles he understood the reason for the trip.
“It's a baseball thing,” he was quoted as saying. “It's an ownership thing, spreading stuff around. That's what it's for, and it's for the greater good of baseball.”
Dodgers President Stan Kasten said Greinke's comments were rooted in his detailed approach to spring training and his meticulous adherence to routine. Both habits, Kasten said, make him a good pitcher and great teammate.
Greinke's teammates say they are looking forward to the trip.
“It'll be fun to see what Sydney has to offer,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.
The trip is scheduled to start with a flight of about 16 hours from Phoenix after an exhibition against Colorado on March 16. The Dodgers are scheduled to return to Los Angeles on March 23 and play three exhibition games against the Los Angeles Angels before playing in MLB's North American opener at San Diego on March 30.
“It's a long trip for us,” said projected starter Dan Haren, who has a dressing stall next to Greinke's in the Dodgers spring training clubhouse. “But we have to think of the game. The actual trip will be a lot to handle, especially for the starting pitchers.”
Arizona and the Dodgers opened their training camps about a week before the other 28 big league clubs.
“This is not a normal spring for us,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday.
Because of the trip, the Dodgers are scheduled for about half of their usual total of spring training games. And they may alter their rotation.
While two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and Greinke are their top two starters, Mattingly might not want them to get that many innings early with starts in both Australia and San Diego. Kershaw in theory could line up to start the season opener, the North American opener and the Dodgers' home opener against San Francisco on April 4.
Mattingly said he won't start Kershaw in all three.
“I'll pitch when they tell me to,” said Kershaw, who is scheduled to start Wednesday's exhibition opener against Arizona in Scottsdale.
Mattingly said 10 days ago he will monitor the workload of Kershaw, who agreed last month to a US$215 million, seven-year contract, the largest deal for a pitcher. Kershaw pitched a career-high 259 1-3 innings last season, including the playoffs
Mattingly does say Josh Beckett won't make the trip. Beckett is fighting to re-claim his spot in the starting rotation after surgery in July to alleviate a nerve problem that affected his right hand. He had a rib and muscle tissue removed.
“I'm hoping we're going to feel a sense of urgency, make sure our minds are right,” Mattingly said. “It's not like we're starting tomorrow and we have 37 spring games to play. “We've got 19 games and then a game that counts.”