Zack Greinke throwing in Arizona, mulling KC Royals return?

The former Kansas City pitcher is still active in a MLB facility.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, KC Royals fans pondered the MLB future of pitcher Zack Greinke. At 40 years old, the Flordia native returned to Kansas City for a two-season stint that saw plenty of highs and lows. Still, Greinke was just shy of several incredible milestones, and Royals fans wanted him to reach them in powder blue. That hope remains alive after the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro reported the grizzled veteran is still active in Arizona.

Former KC Royals pitcher Zack Greinke may not be done pitching just yet.

Greinke pitched a live batting practice session against four rehabbing Arizona Diamondbacks with good results.

“I don’t know if this will be my last time throwing or if I’ll throw the rest of the year and next year,” Greinke said. “I don’t really know at the moment.”

Arizona shortstop Geraldo Perdomo said the righty still had gas in the tank.

“I told one of the guys I think he could still pitch in the majors,” Perdomo said. “I told him (Greinke) he should come back out and keep throwing. For his change-up to look like that in his first live BP, just imagine when he gets into a rhythm and is ready. I think that’s his best pitch right now. I told him that.”

The workout wasn't hinging upon a Diamondbacks and Greinke reunion, but rather the franchise helping a former player. His family moved to Arizona in 2024, seemingly signaling the end of his Kansas City tenure. But Bode and Griffin Greinke, Zack's sons, who have grown up in baseball, played a significant role in keeping the veteran involved in MLB this spring. Their support and love for the game motivated Greinke to return to competitive pitching.

“My arm feels decent at the moment,” Greinke said. “I was trying to get as good as I could at golfing the past two months, and I was like, ‘Why am I trying to be a pro golfer when I’m already kind of a pro baseball player?’ So I figured I’d throw a little and see how it goes.”

Why should Zack Greinke come back?

Piecoro reported that Greinke remained focused on his upcoming milestones and did not let the pressure of reaching them affect his mindset. He remains only 21 strikeouts shy of 3,000 career punchouts, a watermark that nearly guarantees a ticket to Cooperstown. Of the 19 pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts, only two are eligible for the Hall of Fame but have not been elected: Roger Clemens (4,672) and Curt Schilling (3,116). Greinke's 2,979 career strikeouts rank 20th in MLB history, and his 1,101 strikeouts in Kansas City rank 4th most in franchise history.

Even if Greinke commits to an MLB return, there is a long road ahead. Piecoro said the veteran "began throwing in earnest only about two weeks ago," so Greinke still needs more time for MLB conditioning plus finding a suitor. Given Greinke's successful history with the Kansas City Royals, the team holds sentimental value for him, making it the ideal spot for his accolades. However, uncertainties remain regarding the role he may play if he returns to the team. The starting rotation certainly doesn't need the veteran, but would he be open to a bullpen role? That is a key question, but one Greinke only needs to answer if he decides to give baseball another year before hanging up the cleats.

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