Greinke tinkering with pitches before season begins

Starter says he needs work after first spring start was delayed

Greinke tinkering with pitches before season begins

MESA, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke said his elbow felt fine after his first Cactus League appearance Wedneaday, but he wasn't sure if he will be ready to start the second game of the regular season.

Greinke is one start behind Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw because he received a precautionary elbow injection when camp opened. He said he should have time for four more spring starts. He said if he had five more starts he "definitely" would be ready and with four more starts "should" be ready.

It's preferred for a starter to have his pitch count at 75 by his last spring start so he can throw 90 in early April. In this start against the Cubs, Greinke had a quick first inning with an assist from a double play, then struggled with his command, finishing with two runs in two innings and two walks.

He said he felt "really good healthwise," but continued to experiment with a slider that continues to give him fits.

"I've been trying to make the slider better than last year, but it hasn't worked," Greinke said. "I'm trying to figure if I keep trying or go back to last year's. I'm trying everything. It looks good, but I'm giving up more hits than normal."

Greinke said his changeup was "pretty good," his fastball "OK, just not perfect."

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