Thirty-four days ago Zack Greinke hit San Diego's Carlos Quetin with a pitch that incensed the Padre, who charged the mound and collided with Greinke in a brawl that broke the pitcher's collarbone. Greinke returned to the mound Wednesday with the Dodgers organization and fans in anticipation.
Fans were excited to see him pitching again, but were mostly worried and full of questions. If he rushes his return, will he be ineffective? What if the collarbone has not healed enough and is re-injured? Can you even hurt your collarbone through normal pitching?
The conversation among fans was full of concern, but not necessarily knowledgeable.
Greinke put the worries aside, pitching 5.1 innings of solid ball and earning the W in the Dodgers 3-1 victory. He gave up five hits and one run off a fourth-inning homer from Adam LaRoche.
His four strikeouts were great, but just watching him throw 83 pitches without any physical issues, or getting shelled was just what the Dodgers needed.
The lineup did not offer much run support, but the middle of the order delivered with two hits each from Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. Greinke even brought in a run with a single in the second inning.
Matt Kemp's hitting streak is now at 14 games, and Wednesday's two hits make it his fifth multi-hit game of the streak.
The return of Greinke meant that a roster spot had to be cleared, and that came with Josh Beckett being sent to the DL. Beckett's assortment of injuries have become more apparent and his start on Monday was cut short due to a groin strain.
He claimed to be healthy enough to pitch, but I do not think he will be sorely missed for the next two weeks, or longer. While he is gone Ted Lilly could return as well, taking the last spot in the rotation, and leaving Beckett's role with the Dodgers indefinite for the time being.
Beckett will be the sixth Dodger starting pitcher to hit the DL this season.
Wednesday's victory takes the series from the Nationals, marking two straight series wins for Los Angeles.
Tweets from #Dodger Nation
-The Dodgers twitter promotion of #ReturnOfTheGreinke got some eye rolls, “The Greinke? Really, couldn’t just say #ReturnOfGreinke?”
- Some relief from the fans -- “Soooooo nice to see Zack Greinke start tonight instead of Loser Magill”
- Fans are starting to ease up on Matt Kemp -- “Feels good to start hitting, eh Kemp?”