Surprise, Ariz. — Thirteen months after he left the Kansas City Royals' camp to deal with social anxiety, Zack Greinke is back in the Kansas City Royals' starting rotation.
Greinke will be the Royals' No. 3 starter and will pitch in their opening series against the Boston Red Sox, manager Buddy Bell said after Greinke's five-inning stint Sunday in a 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
"He doesn't need to do any more than he is doing now," Bell said. "I just hope he stays this way and he's encouraged by all this."
Greinke allowed four hits and three runs, two of those unearned, against the Brewers. He struck out seven and has a 3.32 ERA in five spring appearances.
"I'm pitching good right now, but the key is who is going to be the best during the season," said Greinke, who abruptly left the Royals' 2006 camp in February and returned to his home in Orlando, Fla. When he did return, he spent much of the season with Double-A Wichita.
New Royals shortstop Tony Pena Jr.'s throwing error allowed two runs to score, and the other run scored when center fielder Mark Teahen lost Damian Miller's fly ball in the sun and it was ruled a double.
"To leave it at three runs is a definite win," Greinke said. "Three runs is a lot of runs to give up, but you get out of that inning and not be too crazy and we're still in the game, that's pretty good. I don't remember a bad pitch that whole inning."
Plate umpire Travis Reininger ejected Brewers third baseman Tony Graffanino in the eighth inning. The two exchanged heated words as teammate Kevin Mench pulled Graffanino away.
"I went to the dugout and slammed my helmet, and he tossed me," Graffanino said. "I don't know he knew I'm talking about him. I could have easily been talking about myself. I had a very bad day. He doesn't know I'm talking about him. He has no business with his ears in the dugout."
Graffanino committed an error, went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Mench led the Brewers, going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run, and Prince Fielder and Corey Hart each had two hits. Fielder's two-run double in the seventh put Milwaukee up, 7-6.
Joey Gathright went 2-for-4 for the Royals, including a two-run inside-the-park home run. Gathright also stole two bases, bringing his season total to five. Alex Gonzalez went 2-for-2, raising his average to .462, while John Buck had two hits, including a double, and is hitting .360.