So just how bad was Zack Greinke's shoulder ?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

After Zack's live Bullpen yesterday he was being interviewed, and our two local beat reporters Steve Gilbert and Nick Piecoro both had articles from the same interview. Piecing together the articles and the quotes, it makes it pretty clear that something is going on. Here are two quotes first and then my own summary below

Steve Gilbert Article

"Maybe when I start feeling I'll be able to get guys out and not be really bad out there," Greinke said when asked when he would get into a game. "Today I don't think I'd be ready to get guys out in a game, yet. Definitely a step closer now. It's definitely moving forward. I'm in a pretty good place right now. If things go smoothly, we'll easily be ready for the season. Even if there's a setback -- not a setback -- but just not executing stuff. Something usually goes not perfect in camp, and even if that happens I should still be ready. You can't ask for much more than that."

Nick Piecoro article

Greinke has, in fact, been going at a different pace than teammates; several of the club’s other starting pitchers faced hitters for the first time last weekend.

But Greinke was a bit evasive on Friday. Asked to confirm that his delayed spring has nothing do with his health, he said, "I mean, yeah, I feel good."

So why was he delayed?

"I don’t remember what my answer was two weeks ago, so I don’t want to change my answer," he said.

Timeline summary

  • Mid season last year Greinke misses 6 starts due to oblique issue
  • He missed last 3 starts of 2016 with shoulder issue
  • Opening Spring Training, Torey Lovullo states Greinke will be held back at a little slower pace
  • Greinke indeed held back at slower pace and faces live hitters one week later than other pitchers in camp

Quote Analysis:

The word "setback" is used when describing injury recovery. He says he's had no set backs, as has his manager, but that's not really the point. The point is you don't use that word unless you are recovering from something in the first place.

The evasiveness that Greinke shows is fairly obvious too. he quickly catches himself, says "not a setback" and then uses way too many words (compared to his usual short and dry answers) to walk back the comment.

On the record, the team is denying the reason for slowing him down is due to some unreported injury. But there may not be a NEW injury, just that the shoulder injury from last year was more serious than reported. So taking it slow, understood.

Still, does Greinke sound confident to you in that first sentence of the quote from the Gilbert article ? Does his refusal to directly answer Piecoro's question about why the delay give you the warm and fuzzies ?

Player analysis:

The oblique injury was really unfortunate. After his rough start, he had an excellent June, going 4-0 in 6 starts, 38 IP and a 1.63 ERA, 31 K, 7 walks, 3 HR. That lowered his season ERA to 3.62

But after the DL stint, just not that good. Got bombed twice, had a few indifferent starts, and even though his last 3 starts runs allowed were good, he walked 4 guys in each start and had 12 walks vs. 14 K's in those 18 innings. And they were long outings for him, 113 pitches, followed by 106 & 107.

Overall results post DL stint: 9 starts, 49 IP, 6.02 ERA 20 walks 43 K's 11 HR.

Game Log

Clearly pitching hurt in my opinion. Command sometimes goes first before velocity. His Velo only off slightly last year, but still off. But more importantly his ability to command the strike zone, and spot his fastball just wasn't there. And he got hammered for it repeatedly.

A conspiracy theorist might say (although I wouldn't) that it wasn't really his oblique all along, but actually shoulder that shut him down mid season. A more benign theory might also be that coming back not properly recovered from that injury caused a cascade injury to the shoulder. If anyone remembers, he got shelled in Reno in his 2nd rehab start before rejoining the club, (5 IP, 5 ER, 9 hits, 2 homers, 2 walks, 5K's and a WP )


I believe it's going to be touch and go with Zach and his shoulder from here on in. I believe he will be carefully managed, they will watch his pitch counts, with fewer games going over 100 pitches, and it's probably only a matter of time now before he needs some serious time off and more aggressive measures are required.

I think we can now throw my Previous Greinke post in trash.