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Greinke close 'but not quite there'05/11/2013 2:25 AM ET
By George Alfano / Special to MLB.com
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke threw the ball well in his first mound appearance since breaking his collarbone on April 11. But he probably would rather not see Lake Elsinore Storm catcher Robert Kral for a while.
Making a rehab start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes -- the Dodgers' California League affiliate -- on Friday night, Greinke gave up eight hits and eight runs - only three of which were earned -- while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings. He threw 53 of 80 pitches for strikes.
"I felt really good, like it was a normal game," said Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers in the offseason. "My execution was close, but it wasn't quite there."
Rancho Cucamonga won a 14-12 slugfest as Angelo Songco hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Quakes overcome a five-run deficit.
Kral, a catcher out of the College of Charleston, homered to right-center on a 1-0 pitch in the third inning. He doubled high off the 36-foot right-field wall in the first inning and doubled again in the fifth, a hit that ended Greinke's evening. Kral played no favorites, connecting for another home run off reliever Ryan Acosta in the seventh. The first-inning double might have been another homer had Kral hit it a little more toward center field.
"I threw him three strikes and he crushed them, just like he was supposed to," said Greinke, who was pitching for the first time since breaking his collarbone during a bench-clearing incident on April 11.
The main point of a rehab start is whether the Major Leaguer can play without pain. Greinke said he did not feel any.
"I felt I could have started before this," he added, saying he wanted to start Wednesday for the Dodgers but acknowledged that the team might want him to make another rehab outing. That decision will be discussed Saturday between Greinke and the Dodgers.
Greinke was instructed not to do any diving or run into anyone. He was tested in the fifth inning when he fielded a bunt down the third-base line that went for a single.
Greinke's fastball was sharp and he thought his changeup was working well, although he said the Storm didn't swing at those pitches. The curveball was another story entirely.
"My curveball was awful, but it has been awful all year," he said. "I felt a little bad in the first inning because I wasn't really loose, but after that I felt OK."
On the day Greinke was injured, the Dodgers expected he might miss eight weeks. He underwent surgery on April 13 and was back on the mound less than a month later.
Scott Elbert, the Dodgers' lefty reliever, also made a rehab appearance in the seventh. He struck out two in a perfect inning and earned the win.
Quakes manager Carlos Subero said his players can learn whenever a Major Leaguer is in town.
"Just having the presence of Major Leaguers here and watching the thought process is good," said Subero, who managed Elbert last season at Double-A Chattanooga. "The main thing is to make sure everybody is healthy."