Greinke draws crowd at first bullpen session

D-backs' new ace getting to know teammates, focused on 'one pitch at a time'

Greinke draws crowd at first bullpen session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For Zack Greinke, it was just a normal bullpen session, his first official one of the spring, but it was evident by the crowd of front-office personnel and the burgeoning media contingent that locally, it was big news.

Greinke threw to catcher Welington Castillo for about 10 minutes Friday morning before going through the rest of his workout for the day.

Spring Training info

"Right now, it's just try to get ready for the season healthy and pitching pretty good," Greinke said. "Before, I used to work on all my pitches in Spring Training and try to develop some pitches. I kind of like my mix now, so I'm trying to get my pitches working how I want them and be healthy and strong. That's kind of the goal."

An overflow media crowd attended his post-practice briefing. It's the kind of attention a pitcher gets after he's signed to a six-year, $206.5 million contract -- by far the richest in club history -- and is being counted on to be the ace of the staff.

Not long after Greinke's signing became official in December, D-backs manager Chip Hale named him the team's Opening Day starter.

"I try not to worry about any of that stuff and focus on making each pitch good and not really worry about when I'm pitching too much," Greinke said. "Just kind of when they tell me to pitch, try to get ready to pitch as good as I can for that day."

Greinke to start on Opening Day

Greinke is still getting to know his new teammates and vice versa, but one thing they all seem to have noticed about the right-hander is his attention to detail.

"He has a plan and purpose for why and where to throw the pitch, and sometimes he just missed a little bit up, and the next time, the next pitch, is right there where he wants it to be," said Castillo. "It's good to know that any time he misses a pitch, he can make an adjustment. He has a purpose for why he wants to throw a pitch and where he wants to throw it. He's really focused on what he's doing."

That's something the D-backs hope carries over to the other members of the pitching staff.

Greinke has credited veteran pitcher Gil Meche for helping him while Greinke was a young pitcher for the Royals, and he has expressed his desire to aid the young pitchers on Arizona's staff. That was one of the many reasons the D-backs signed him.

"He's cerebral," Hale said. "He likes to be in small groups. You can tell that. One-on-one with different pitchers, you can see him talking to them."

Getting to know his new teammates, though, will take time for Greinke.

"I let it go at its own pace," he said. "Sometimes, I end up not talking to people too much, and with others it slowly develops. I would think with most people it's similar. Sometimes you talk to someone and then you go the next month without talking to them that much. Then you'll talk to them all day, and then you won't talk to them again for a week. I don't really know. It just kind of happens."

Greinke is known for being honest, sometimes brutally so, and he was when asked about how he could build on his 19-3 record and 1.66 ERA from last season.

"I don't think you can build on it," Greinke said. "It's about as good as it's going to be for me. I'm probably not that good. Last year, what I did for the most part, and what I hope to do this year, is think about one pitch at a time, make it as good as I can. If I make a bad pitch, then think about the next pitch and make that pitch as good as I can, and do it like that for a full season, and hopefully the results take care of themselves."

The D-backs are counting on it.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.