Zack Greinke will make a much-anticipated return to Petco Park Saturday when the Los Angeles Dodgers continue a four-game series with the NL West-rival San Diego Padres.
Greinke's last start at Petco Park on April 11 didn't go as planned and the high-priced hurler suffered a broken left collarbone in a melee with Padres burly outfielder Carlos Quentin. Quentin was hit by a Greinke pitch in the sixth inning and the right-hander appeared to say something toward the plate. Quentin then charged Greinke and the two collided before falling to the grass.
A scrum ensued and tempers carried over outside of Petco Park, as Dodgers star outfielder Matt Kemp allegedly confronted Quentin as the two departed the stadium. Quentin was slapped with an eight-game suspension for his actions after getting hit on a 3-2 count in a one-run game.
"That's just stupid is what it is," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said at the time. "He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke pitches, something's wrong. He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base."
Greinke, who's had a history with Quentin from their days in the AL Central, made a speedy return on May 15. He gave up two runs on five hits and one walk that day, while striking out four batters over five-plus innings.
"I never hit him on purpose," Greinke said after the game." He always seems to think I'm hitting him on purpose, but that's not the case.
Quentin hasn't played since June 14 because of a shoulder issue and could miss the rematch with Greinke.
Greinke is still getting back to form and will make his fifth start of the month Saturday for the Dodgers. Greinke was tagged with a loss in Sunday's 6-3 defeat at Pittsburgh and yielded five runs and eight hits in five innings.
Greinke dropped to 3-2 in nine overall starts with a 4.22 ERA and is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Padres. He is 0-2 in four road starts this season.
The Dodgers have lost the first two tests of this series and are coming off Friday's 5-2 setback with ace Clayton Kershaw on the hill. Kershaw didn't get much run support and also struggled on the mound, yielding four runs, including three in the third inning, and seven hits in six innings. He did manage to strike out seven and walk only one batter in falling to 5-5 on the season.
"I have to limit the damage with guys on base. Solo home runs you can live with, but two-run triples you can't. That's what happened tonight. It happened real quick, just one big inning, but it did me in and it was enough," Kershaw said.
Juan Uribe had two hits and an RBI, while Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig ended with two hits and a run scored apiece for Los Angeles, which has dropped nine of its last 12 games. The Dodgers are last in the NL West and only 2-5 on a nine-game road trip.
The Dodgers learned that Kemp will make a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Albuquerque and is expected to be the designated hitter. Kemp has been sidelined since late May with a right hamstring strain.
San Diego is climbing the NL West standings and now sits second in the division, just 2 1/2 games behind Arizona.
The Padres have won 12 of their last 16 games and prevailed on Friday even though starting pitcher Clayton Richard departed after throwing just two pitches with a left shoulder injury. Richard is headed to the disabled list and will undergo further evaluation.
"It was rough, something I hoped wouldn't happen. I had some discomfort this week leading up to (the start), but I thought I'd be able to get through. Unfortunately, once I got going, I knew things weren't right," Richard told the club's website afterward.
San Diego's bullpen came through, as Tim Stauffer tossed four innings of one- run ball for the win and three other relievers combined to hold L.A. to a run over the next five innings. Huston Street spun a scoreless ninth for his 15th save of the season.
Chris Denorfia went 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored, and Chase Headley added an RBI triple in the win.
"We're really just picking each other up lately. Especially with something like (Richard's injury) we can only hope for the best. Our bullpen stepped in and gave us nine innings. I can't say enough about what they're doing for us," Denorfia said.
The Padres have won eight in a row at Petco Park.
Edinson Volquez gets the nod for San Diego Saturday and is 5-5 with a 5.84 earned run average in 15 starts. He is 2-0 in his last five appearances despite sporting a 6.00 ERA in that time and did not figure into the decision of his team's 5-3 win at San Francisco on Monday.
The Giants recorded three runs and six hits in five innings against Volquez, who struck out six batters and walked only one. The right-handed Volquez is 3-3 in seven starts and 2-2 with a 3.97 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers.
San Diego has won seven of its 11 matchups with the Dodgers this season.