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Dodgers may delay Greinke's return

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is questionable for his scheduled start Monday because of continued elbow discomfort, while Chad Billingsley is dealing with a sore groin muscle.

Greinke missed a bullpen session nine days ago because of elbow stiffness, missed a start four days ago because of the flu, then threw an impressive bullpen session on Friday.

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But the discomfort in the back of his elbow has persisted and -- with seven other starters in the current rotation -- club officials are considering holding him out for precautionary reasons.

Doctors have ruled out serious injuries such as ligament damage. Greinke has told the club he's dealt with similar elbow issues in the past that never kept him from missing a start.

Greinke referred questions to club officials, and manager Don Mattingly was non-committal about Monday's starter.

"We'll see tomorrow," Mattingly said.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is already scheduled to pitch on Monday and will likely start if Greinke doesn't.

Greinke was signed to a $147 million contract in December (the richest for a right-hander at the time) after exceeding 200 innings in four of the last five seasons. He missed in 2011 because of a broken rib sustained in a pickup basketball game that left him on the disabled list throughout April.

He has made only two starts this spring for a total of five innings, while Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw made his fourth start on Sunday and has pitched 13 innings.

Meanwhile, Billingsley is dealing with a sore right groin muscle, an injury he's had in previous springs. He is coming off an outing of 3 1/3 innings on Thursday and is scheduled to make his next start on Wednesday's off-day in a Minor League game.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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