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D-backs Torey Lovullo not concerned over Zack Greinke’s remarks

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Last week, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke expressed uncertainties in his preseason performance, saying he always gets nervous he won’t be ready by Opening Day.

Manager Torey Lovullo told reporters he is “minimally concerned” over his ace on Monday.

“Some great players that I’ve played with, coached or been around have the same type of self-doubt,” he said. “Zack’s an elite performer.”

Athletes typically aren’t in midseason form at the beginning of March, which Lovullo believes can be tough on the mindsets of players accustomed to high levels of play.

“He wants to get back to that right now, so I think they experience a certain degree of frustration as they’re building up to that, so that’s a little bit of what I did talk to him about,” Lovullo said. “I explained to him that I’m not concerned, just want to make sure we’re doing all we can for him.”

Despite this, Lovullo has not announced if Greinke will be the Opening Day starter. He doesn’t want to force Greinke into action if the pitcher is still concerned about his velocity.

“We have one really good candidate, everybody knows who it is,” Lovullo said over the weekend. “But he has some concerns and we want to listen to those concerns and make sure that he’s comfortable.”

On Thursday, Greinke played an intrasquad game on the backfields at Salt River Fields, throwing 4.2 innings of one-run ball off six hits. He struck out three and didn’t issue a walk, but his velocity hovered in the mid-80s.

He is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game on the main diamond against the Cincinnati Reds.

Day off

Don’t come to Salt River Fields on Tuesday if you’re hoping to get an autograph or watch some Diamondbacks practice – Lovullo gave players and staff the day off.

That is, with the exception of Shelby Miller, who will be throwing his first bullpen session of the spring, Lovullo said.

Miller underwent Tommy John surgery on May 10 last season. He’s trying to recover from an partial UCL tear and prove he can still be a productive piece to a rotation after combining for a 5-14 record with a 5.78 ERA in a little over one season with the Diamondbacks.

He was moved to the 60-day disabled list in February and does not have a clear timetable for return.