Dodgers' number two starter Zack Greinke is back at it, throwing a bullpen session on Thursday as he works to recover from the calf injury he suffered last week, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Thursday's session featured 25 pitches and work from both the windup and the stretch.
Even if Greinke continues to recover nicely, it's unlikely that he will make the trip to Australia in two weeks and will first focus on throwing to hitters before getting into an exhibition game. The right-hander is coming off a fine season in which he turned in a 2.63 ERA and 3.23 FIP in 177 ⅔ innings, not to mention one of the more impressive pitcher-hitting seasons in recent memory (.328/.409/.379 in 72 PA).
Taijuan Walker set to resume throwing
Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker is set to test the waters on Thursday by playing catch for the first time in week, according to Bob Dutton of The Tacoma News Tribune. Walker was shut down after a February 28th examination revealed inflammation in his shoulder.
If all goes well, Walker would likely be ready to return to the rotation sometime in mid to late April. He looks to slot in behind Felix Hernandez, and eventually, Hisaski Iwakuma, who is dealing with his own injury troubles. After an offseason designed to put them into contention, the Mariners have high hopes for Walker whose 2014 debut will mark his fourth major league start.
Jon Niese feels great, poised for Opening Day
Mets left-hander Jon Niese is in good spirits after working two simulated intrasquad innings on Thursday, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Niese missed two months last season with a rotator-cuff tear and had recently felt weakness in his shoulder, leading to an MRI that came back clean.
Niese told Rubin that "It's a great feeling to go out there and not feel any pain in your shoulder. It was a great step forward to go out on the mound and feel very close to 100 percent." The 27-year-old starter is confident that he will be ready to go for Opening Day. Niese, who is under contract through at least 2016, will look to improve upon his 3.99 career ERA in 2014 with his shoulder problems likely behind him.
Rios dealing with sore oblique
Rangers' outfielder Alex Rios is day-to-day with a mild oblique strain, according to Drew Davidson of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram.
Rios, 33, is slated to be the Rangers everyday right fielder in 2014 after coming over in a trade from the White Sox in August of 2013. Rios is known to be a fine, but streaky hitter with a reasonably good glove, but is also one of the least talked about base thieves in the sport. In 2013, he set a career high with 42 stolen bases and FanGraphs estimates that he was worth 7.8 runs on the bases, which ranked seventh overall.