SATURDAY: Manager Chip Hale says he does not believe Greinke will pitch again this season, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
FRIDAY 10:26pm: The MRI cleared Greinke of structural damage, as Piecoro tweets, though he’ll likely miss his next scheduled start. That’s obviously good news for Arizona, though it would certainly be preferable if Greinke is able to return for at least one more outing before shutting things down for the offseason.
7:12pm: The Diamondbacks will send righty Zack Greinke in for an MRI on his right shoulder, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. He isn’t with the team at present and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to make his final two starts of the year.
Greinke did not show any indications of a problem during his last outing — he was effective, though it was his third-straight with at least four walks — but reported shoulder inflammation thereafter. He did report improvement as of today, per manager Chip Hale, but the team is obviously concerned enough to order up imaging.
Needless to say, this isn’t the way Arizona hoped that Greinke’s already-rough season would wrap up. The soon-to-be 33-year-old sports an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over his 158 2/3 innings on the year. He missed time previously with an oblique strain.
While most of Greinke’s peripherals fell within range of his career norms, he was particularly susceptible to the long ball this year, allowing 1.3 dingers per nine. His average fastball largely held steady, dropping about half a mile an hour from his prior three campaigns, but both his four-seam and two-seam offerings were markedly less effective than in the recent past (by measure of Pitch F/X pitch values).
Greinke still profiles as a highly useful starter — he’d surely secure the largest contract in this winter’s weak free agent class were he again eligible — but the remainder of his massive contract looks to be under water at this point in time. Greinke is owed $157.5MM over the next five years, a monumental sum for a hurler his age, which has led some to suggest that the D-Backs ought to seek a trade partner. While the club’s current front office has stated that it isn’t inclined to take that path, organizational change could shift the calculus. Any uncertainty in Greinke’s shoulder, though, would largely scuttle any such ideas — at least until he can demonstrate that he is healthy.