Spring training is starting, so it’s time to OH GOD PANIC, probably:
Zack Greinke had a lubricating injection in elbow Thursday as precautionry measure to prevent annaul spring dead arm. Shut down a dew days.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 21, 2015
That sounds… bad? I mean, any sort of injection into an incredibly valuable pitching elbow seems bad. But this also sounds like just a precaution, some kind of planned maintenance that will help Greinke make it through the spring, and he’s expected to be back to normal in a few days. He even had the same thing last year.
So this is probably nothing, but it still sounds terrifying, especially if you remember his first year with the team, back in 2013, when he missed a few spring weeks with elbow issues. When I googled “lubricating injection elbow baseball,” the only relevant result that showed up in the top three pages was a story from May 2013 by our friend J.P. Hoornstra, about Angels pitcher Sean Burnett. It’s not the same situation, obviously, because Burnett had already had issues recovering from elbow surgery. He also faced three big-league batters last year. Fun!
Still, this seems like the kind of thing that will be made far too much of when it’s probably not worth worrying about on Feb. 21. That said, as Greinke’s opt-out decision looms — and despite his recent comments that he’s undecided, if he has anything close to a “normal” year, he’s absolutely opting out — I don’t at all hate the idea that he might. This isn’t the same as me saying “I hope he’s gone,” because he’s been a wonderful addition and I’ve greatly enjoyed watching him pitch. I just can’t pretend that getting the age 29-31 years of a guy with potential elbow concerns and having someone else pay him for his 30s isn’t a little appealing.
That’s a problem for next winter, though. For now, stand down. No cause for alarm. Spring training is the worst, sometimes.