Greinke's bullpen session encourages Dodgers

Right-hander tests ailing elbow off mound; expected to start Saturday

Greinke's bullpen session encourages Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was confident pitcher Zack Greinke would be "fine" to start on Saturday night after watching the right-hander test his elbow during a shortened bullpen session on Thursday.

Greinke originally was to start on Thursday night, but persistent elbow discomfort and resulting treatment necessitated two extra days of rest. The club hasn't said if Greinke received an injection. Clayton Kershaw was moved up from Friday to start instead.

"I feel like Zack's going to be fine on Saturday," Mattingly said. "I don't feel like it's going to turn into long range."

Greinke tossed lightly on flat ground Wednesday, and threw all of his pitches off the bullpen mound Thursday with Drew Butera catching. Greinke was able to hit his spots, mix in breaking balls as well as changeups, which gave him trouble in his most recent start Saturday, when he threw five scoreless innings and hit 95 mph with his fastball but walked five.

Greinke, 30, has compared the discomfort in the back of his elbow to what he experienced during Spring Training 2013, when he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in early March and missed more than three weeks of exhibition games after signing a $147 million free-agent contract. He went on to win 15 games with a 2.63 ERA despite missing a month with a broken collarbone suffered in a brawl.

The club leader with 157 1/3 innings so far, Greinke hasn't had a break this year. He picked up the ace role when Kershaw was on the disabled list, going 8-1 with a 2.01 ERA in April and May. Greinke missed a breather he could have used when he joined Kershaw pitching in the All-Star Game last month.

The Dodgers had hoped to get Greinke through this week with the possibility of skipping him altogether next week, when there are scheduled days off Monday and Thursday. The Dodgers also expect to have an added arm when Hyun-Jin Ryu returns from the disabled list. He is eligible to return Aug. 29.

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