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Greinke gets his pitches, but indoors

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Tom Haudricourt
April 13, 2011
— Zack Greinke was scheduled to throw batting practice on the field Tuesday for the first time since being sidelined in the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring camp with a cracked left rib.

When the weather didn’t cooperate at PNC Park, the Brewers went to Plan B. Greinke pitched in simulated situations to hitters in an indoor batting cage, with balls and strikes being called.


When the 25-pitch session was done, manager Ron Roenicke was impressed.


“He threw the ball really well,” said Roenicke. “He got after it.


“He’s trying to come real fast now. I think (trainer) Roger (Caplinger) will have to look at that and make sure that we don’t let him go full-go (too soon). That’s what he’d like to do, so we have to watch that a little bit.”


Roenicke said Greinke would pitch in another simulated session Friday and then probably go on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment to Class AAA Nashville. There’s still a chance he will make his Brewers’ debut before the end of the month.


“If he comes out tomorrow and he’s not sore, I’ll be pretty impressed because he wasn’t holding back on anything,” said Roenicke.


Greinke was a bit more tempered in his enthusiasm but said the session was worthwhile.


“It was all right,” he said. “I think they’re happy because I was throwing hard. I don’t know if they’re serious or just trying to be nice. Everyone told me that like a thousand times.


“I’m just doing what has to be done until it’s time to pitch in a game. (Simulated action) is better than just throwing a bullpen because you can get a feel for how hitters are reacting to pitches. It’s not the same as a game but it’s better than a bullpen.”


No makeup date was announced for the rainout. The Brewers return to PNC Park only one more time this season, Aug. 22-24. They have an off-day after that series but the


Pirates play that day.


Hart also progressing


The rain also prevented rightfielder Corey Hart from taking pregame batting practice as scheduled, but he did hit in the indoor batting cage and felt no discomfort as he recovers from a lingering left oblique strain.


“I was hoping to get on the field, so the weather didn’t help,” he said. “But I took about 35 swings without any problem. Hopefully, I can get out (on the field) tomorrow.


“Today was the first day I took swings without feeling tightness. Even before, I always felt something. So, it was pretty encouraging. I feel like it’s not too far away.”


Hart hopes to take batting practice the rest of the week and be ready to go on minor-league rehab to Nashville by Sunday. His goal is to be ready to rejoin the Brewers for the start of their next home stand on April 22.


“I might have set myself back a little bit by trying to do things before I was ready but that’s human nature,” he said. “At the end of spring training, I tried to force it and push it instead of just letting it take its course. I might have cost myself a week but there’s nothing I can do about that now.”


Better safe than sorry


The original thinking was that reliever Takashi Saito would be recovered from the left hamstring strain he had been battling for nearly a week. But after the team arrived in Pittsburgh on Monday night, assistant general manager Gord Ash and Roenicke spoke with Saito and he told them he wasn’t 100 percent ready to pitch.


The decision was made to put Saito on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 6 and recall reliever Brandon Kintzler from Nashville.


Saito had a similar issue in spring training. But it was the memory of a hamstring strain with Atlanta last year that resulted in a sore pitching shoulder that gave him pause about returning too soon.


“There was no setback,” said Saito. “Last year when I injured my hamstring, about a month later I injured my shoulder (by altering my delivery). So, I was worried about that.”


Time spent on the DL has a financial impact on Saito. His contract guarantees $1.75 million but also includes $1.5 million in bonuses for appearances and time on the active roster. He gets $100,000 each for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days and 150 days on the active roster.



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