Injury Roll Call: Greinke’s comeback, A-Gon feeling pain, Elbert almost ready

AdrianGonzalezHomer

Adrian Gonzalez and his neck strain still pose an issue for the Dodgers, as he can swing a bat without pain but can’t play the field or run without significant discomfort.

If there was an opportunity for the Dodgers to unilaterally impose the designated hitter rule upon the National League, they just might do it. After all, their first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is still bothered by a muscular strain in his neck, but it doesn’t really hinder his performance at the plate.

“We don’t know what gets him. The play where he goes to his right and gets the lead guy, that stung him. Then a swing stung him,” said manager Don Mattingly. “We thought it was a good time to get him out of there. The beat kind of goes on with Adrian. He’s still swinging the bat good.”

“That’s the one thing. It doesn’t really bother me when I hit,” Gonzalez said. “Just throwing, running for fly balls, running with my head up, that hurts, especially going back. But even moving forward with my head up it hurts. With fly balls it’s hard for me to go hard or even go comfortably. I’d say the fly balls are the worst.”

It has become a daily battle for Gonzalez of getting treatment and preparing for a game, only to have that relative calm disrupted during play.

“It’s a strain. Once I get up and start running and throwing during the game, it just seems to get worse and worse and worse.”

Fortunately, he’s in the lineup today.

However, the injury will likely continue to keep A-Gon in and out of the lineup if he tries to play through it. Scott Van Slyke could see significant time going forward, especially if something happens to re-aggravate it.

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Zack Greinke‘s rehab start went off without a hitch and the righty is scheduled to return from his broken collarbone Wednesday at home against Washington.

Zack Greinke pitched into the fifth inning for the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night on a minor league rehab assignment, and could be in line to pitch next for the Dodgers on Wednesday against the Nationals.

“If the doctors say he can pitch, we’re going to let him pitch. We feel like his arm is going to be ready to pitch. He has thrown two 60-pitch bullpens, he’s going to throw 75 pitches tonight,” manager Don Mattingly said before the Dodgers played the Marlins on Friday night. “As long as the doctors say that’s safe for him to pitch with, then he’ll pitch. Knowing Zack, he probably would have pitched tonight.”

I’m giving the Dodgers the benefit of the doubt that they’re not rushing Zack. The club obviously needs him, but not so much so that he should be pitching injured. No amount of need is acceptable enough to put an already injured player at further risk, and even a slight change in mechanics could create problems that this team certainly doesn’t need.

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Scott Elbert continues to rehab and is nearing a return to The Show.

Scott Elbert, the “other” Dodgers pitcher on a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, pitched a perfect seventh inning Friday night and got the win in his first game appearance since two elbow operations.

The left-handed Elbert will pitch another inning Monday and might follow that with an appearance at Triple-A Albuquerque, but he’s not far away from returning to the Dodgers’ bullpen.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Elbert, who needed only seven pitches to record two strikeouts and a groundout. “It’s a good feeling. It’s been a long time. I feel good. I don’t feel anything.”

Elbert was on a 25-pitch limit, so he went to the bullpen after his inning and threw another 18 pitches to get in his work. The Quakes, who trailed by five runs at one point, took the lead while Elbert was the pitcher of record.

“If I can do what I did tonight, I can help them out [in Los Angeles],” said Elbert. “I almost feel I’m back to my normal self completely.”

Elbert has great swing and miss stuff, and he could certainly help the big league club if healthy. Considering that the bullpen is struggling, there will likely be a spot for him somewhere, which was an iffy proposition before.

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Minor-league injury notes:

Placed on 7-day DL: 2B Elevys Gonzalez, OF Malcolm Holland
Reinstated from DL: C Jan Vazquez, 1B Chris Jacobs, 2B Rafael Ynoa

Chris Jacobs, the light-tower power 1B, and Rafael Ynoa, the potential utility infielder, highlight the list.

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Greg Zakwin is the founder of the site Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke.

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