Surprise, Ariz. Zack Greinke spent spring training last year working on a changeup and ended up with a 9.21 earned-run average — then he dominated the regular season and won the Cy Young Award.
What will he do this year now that he’s off to a stellar start?
Greinke allowed one hit over three scoreless innings in his first spring outing, and the Royals beat the Texas Rangers, 4-2, on Friday.
Greinke struck out three and walked none. David Murphy’s two-out first inning single was the only hit he allowed.
“There were opportunities for them to capitalize, but for the most part it was pretty good for the first outing.” Greinke said. “The first outing is usually not good. I probably never had a first good outing before, so that was a little surprising.”
Greinke, who had a 2.16 ERA last year, threw mostly fastballs and changeups and needed only 27 pitches, 19 for strikes, in three innings.
“He made it look pretty easy for his first outing,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “He was very efficient.”
Hillman said there was no thought of sending Greinke out for the fourth even though his pitch count was low.
Greinke, the perfectionist, listed four mistakes he made.
“The first pitch of the game should have been hit harder,” he said of the pitch Julio Borbon popped out to shortstop. “I threw a pitch to (Nelson) Cruz that really was not a bad pitch, but during the season he hits. But he grounded out on it. Their shortstop (Elvis Andrus), I threw a ball where he probably likes it. He missed it because it’s early. I hung a changeup to Murphy, and he did a good a job of hitting.”