Zack Greinke nearly bats for KC Royals

The veteran was one out away from batting for the first time since July 21, 2021
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It was so close. The stars aligned for KC Royals starter Zack Greinke to hit for the first time in two seasons. But alas, a close game and an MJ Melendez groundout ended that dream rather quickly.

Zack Greinke nearly batted for the KC Royals on Sunday.

Greinke's path to nearly batting was a complicated one. Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker hit Royals catcher Salvador Perez with a pitch in the second nning, forcing Perez out of the game. The injury forced Freddy Fermin behind the plate, but he was already in the lineup as the designated hitter. Thus, Perez's spot in the lineup now became the pitcher's spot. Greinke was on deck warming up, yet the opportunity never ame.

Greinke may have started Opening Day for the Royals, but it would be very interesting to see him at the plate again. It has been more than a decade since KC Royals fans have seen pitcher Zack Greinke ready to bat. The 39-year-old Greinke was not a batting savant in his first stint with the Royals. He made 26 plate appearances with Kansas City, recording four hits and a home run even. Greinke made his biggest offensive impact during his NL tenure with three different teams. He posted a .601 OPS as a pitcher with eight homers and nine stolen bases.

Greinke, who is likely in his last year, was skeptical about his possible impact at the plate Sunday.

“I was excited to do it. Didn’t get to. I was excited to. I thought Taijuan might give me a couple pitches to hit,” Greinke said. “And I haven’t swung the bat very much, so it probably wouldn’t have been that good. But it usually takes me like a month or so to get semi-dialed it, so it wouldn’t have been the easiest.”

Manager Matt Quatraro made the decison to pull Greinke, having Edward Olivares pinch hit for him instead.

“Oh yeah, I mean for sure [he asked],” Quataro said. “But he understands. It would have been great. I would have loved to see him hit. I wish we were up 7-2 and we could have let him hit three times. That would have been great. But we have to take a chance to win the game.”

Greinke has nine home runs and nine stolen bases in his career, one shy of an elusive 10-10 club for pitchers. Bob Gibson was the last primary pitcher to reach that mark back in 1975. The former Cy Young winner is likely in his final MLB season. Father Time has been brutal to Greinke, evident by his 1-12 record and 5.53 ERA this season. Fans may not see Greinke at the plate again, this season or beyond.

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