D-backs’ Greinke expected to start Wild Card game, Mathis cleared

Sep 26, 2017, 4:09 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke (21) talks with catcher Jeff Mathis, left, after warming up in t...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke (21) talks with catcher Jeff Mathis, left, after warming up in the bullpen prior to a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Eight days from now, the Arizona Diamondbacks will host the 2017 National League Wild Card Game on Oct. 4, and manager Torey Lovullo hinted at who would start the play-in game.

The first-year skipper said after Monday night’s loss to the San Francisco Giants that Zack Greinke would not make his scheduled start against the Giants on Wednesday, and he said Tuesday afternoon Braden Shipley would take the start.

Lovullo said Tuesday that Greinke’s final regular season start would indeed be pushed back. The right hander will close out 2017 against the Kansas City Royals on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.

That will give Greinke a usual five-game rest for his Wild Card game scheduled for next Wednesday.

As far as Greinke’s status for the Wild Card game goes, Lovullo is taking it one step at a time.

“Zack’s got to get through that Friday start healthy,” Lovullo told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “We’ll see where that lands us on Wednesday.”

Lovullo also updated the status of Greinke’s personal catcher, Jeff Mathis. Mathis landed on the disabled list on Aug. 21 with a fractured hand and has not played in a game.

But Lovullo said Mathis has been cleared for “just about all baseball activity,” and said the veteran backstop should be physically ready to catch Greinke come playoff time.

“If that is the case, we have to give strong consideration to that bond and connection that Zack and Jeff have developed,” Lovullo said. “But it is not going to be done just to throw him in there, and have him go (at) 50 percent. Jeff is going to have to be 100 percent, with no risk of hurting himself or going backwards with this injury.”

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