SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Zack Greinke stood in front of the media on Saturday afternoon, his hair long, his neck sore. He had arrived the day before, two days after his fellow pitchers, and while his tardiness was his own choice – and while he seemed to have second thoughts about it – he did not seem to have reservations about where he was reporting to duty.
Even after an offseason that saw the Diamondbacks part ways with a slew of veterans, Greinke said he does not want to play for any other team.
He is happy to be with the ArizonDiamondbacks. He isn’t happy to be at spring training.
“I actually don’t think it’s too long,” Greinke said. “I think it’s too boring.”
Greinke was not late because of a family or personal issue. He was late, he said, because report day essentially sneaked up on him. Sources say he was on a trip to Mexico.
“Things kind of creeped up faster than I was thinking and I was going to have to rush to get here,” Greinke said. “I just decided instead of rushing, I asked if I could just come at a more relaxed pace. It worked out fine, I think.”
He was asked if he considered whether his decision would set a bad example for teammates, particularly coming from the highest-paid player on a team that lost a chunk of veteran leadership in the offseason.
“I didn’t think about it, but maybe I should have,” he said. “That was Torey’s (manager Torey Lovullo) biggest complaint about it. Maybe I should have looked at that closer when doing it.”
When Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks three years ago, he was viewed as a finishing piece to a young and talented club that was entering a window of contention. Greinke said he knew at the time the roster eventually would have to turn over. Knowing that, he said he thinks the team still looks pretty good.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, center fielder A.J. Pollock and left-hander Patrick Corbin are gone, as are a handful of other contributors from last year’s team. Caesars Sportsbook put the over/under on Diamondbacks’ wins at 77; Baseball Prospectus’ projection system pegged them for 81 wins.
Greinke, though, said the expectations have not changed, adding that he would be “surprised” if others were to view their expectations as anything other than competing for a World Series.
“It’s definitely not an easy road, but I would be very surprised if anyone thought that wasn’t possible,” Greinke said. “There are some teams where you could say it’s pretty much impossible. Our team definitely has the talent to make a run at it.”
Either way, he is not interested in going anywhere else. He said he would understand if the team thinks trading him is in its best interests – although the club would have to navigate Greinke’s 15-team no-trade clause – but he has “(no) desire to be traded to any team.”
“I’ve had a really good time here,” he said. “Everything about it is pretty good. The organization is pretty good, the town’s good. The players on the team are great. It’s just a good set-up here.”
Greinke has yet to participate in any of the Diamondbacks’ four days of workouts. He would have on Saturday, he said, but was bothered by a sore neck from his flight to Arizona.
He bemoaned the number of people involved in a big league spring training, as well as what he described as an endless array of meetings. Not team meetings, he said, but the orientations or sessions that cover the more mundane aspects of big league life, such as rules, regulations or policies.
“I’ve heard them 20 times now,” he said. “It’s nothing different. You still have to go to them. It’s not enjoyable.”
Greinke said he threw a little more in the offseason than he had in years past, and other than the neck, he said he feels better physically than he did at the start of camp either of the past two years.
Bu he pointed out that how he feels offers no guarantee on how his season will go. He also doesn’t think it will have any effect on his confidence level heading into the year, something he admitted last year is an annual issue for him.
“You almost expect (spring training) to be really bad,” he said. “But if I come out looking really bad I’m sure I won’t be super confident going into the season. But I feel good.”