PHOENIX -- Instead of meeting his former Brewers teammates in an exhibition game in Maryvale on Monday, Zack Greinke was in Los Angeles meeting Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who concluded the Dodgers pitcher's right elbow is inflamed but nothing worse.
The team doctor gave Greinke an injection of platelet-rich plasma and anti-inflammatory medication. The pitcher has been prescribed rest for two to three days and then a return to a progressive throwing program.
"It sounds really positive," manager Don Mattingly said after receiving results of Greinke's examination.
ElAttrache's diagnosis confirmed an MRI taken last week that Greinke had no structural ligament or tendon damage in the elbow, which has bothered him since his last start March 1.
Greinke missed a bullpen session eight days ago because of discomfort in the back of the elbow, missed a start five days ago because of the flu, then threw an impressive bullpen session Friday without issues.
But the discomfort in the back of his elbow returned when he played catch Sunday. The club said the decision to send Greinke for an exam was made "out of an abundance of caution."
Greinke has told the team he's dealt with similar elbow issues in the past that never kept him from missing a start.
Although Greinke is clearly behind most of the other starters in innings pitched and Mattingly didn't know when he'd be back on a mound, the manager said he thinks Greinke will be ready to make his first scheduled regular-season start April 2 anyway.
"Yeah, I do," he said. "That could change, but I expect him to."
Mattingly said his concern over Greinke was tempered by the way the bullpen session went Friday. Mattingly stood in the batter's box and thought Greinke was throwing free and easy.
"If that guy was hurting with something serious going on, it would be a shocker," Mattingly said before Monday's exam.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was already scheduled to pitch on Monday after Greinke, started instead and allowed three runs and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings in the Dodgers' 3-2 loss. Ryu will likely continue to start in Greinke's place until Greinke is ready to return.
Greinke was signed to a $147 million contract in December (the richest ever for a right-hander at the time) after exceeding 200 innings in four of the last five seasons. He missed time in 2011 because of a broken rib suffered in a spring 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.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less