SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke will begin this season as the Royals' No. 3 starter after beginning last season on the disabled list after being diagnosed with "social anxiety." Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said Greinke would start the third game of the season, April 5 against the Red Sox, after Greinke's third straight exceptional outing on Sunday. Greinke struck out seven in five innings against the Brewers while allowing four hits and walking one. Greinke was charged with three runs in the Royals' 7-6 loss, but he easily could have not given up a run. Two runs scored on a Tony Pena Jr. throwing error in the fifth, while the other run that inning scored when Mark Teahen lost Damian Miller's routine fly ball in the sun and it was ruled a double.
"To leave at three runs is a definite win," Greinke said. "Three runs is a lot of runs to give up, but you want to get out of that inning and not be too crazy. And we're still in the game; that's pretty good. I don't remember a bad pitch that whole inning." Greinke has made few bad pitches in his past three outings, allowing 10 hits in 15 innings while striking out 16 and walking two. Greinke struck out four in a row, including the side in the second inning, although he said he does not consider himself a strikeout pitcher. "The last couple of games I was," he said. "A couple of pitches were not strikeout pitches, but they just missed them. I froze them a couple of times, and that hasn't always happened to me. I haven't always been good at freezing people for strike three." Bell has seen enough to insert Greinke into the third slot. "He doesn't need to do anymore than he is doing now," Bell said. "I just hope he stays this way and he's encouraged by all this. He's really had only one kind of shaky outing all during Spring Training. The main thing is he seems comfortable that he is a part of us. That is where he should be and needs to stay." Said Greinke: "I'm pitching good right now, but the key is who is going to be the best during the season." Bell also announced left-handed Jorge De La Rosa would start the fourth game, April 6 against the Tigers. Gil Meche and Odalis Perez are the probable starters for the first two games. Bell also indicated Brandon Duckworth, a non-roster invitee, would be on the 12-man staff.
Grudzielanek getting going: Mark Grudzielanek is right on his time, but he is ahead of everybody else's schedule.Grudzielanek will return to the Royals lineup on Monday night against the Padres after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on March 5. "Three weeks on the day," Grudzielanek said of his return. "[The medical staff is] going off how I feel and what I've been doing. I think it's time to get out there. I feel real good, so we're going to do it." Grudzielanek started running the bases and doing strenuous infield work, including the turn for double plays to test the knee. He reported no swelling or soreness. Grudzielanek said when he had little swelling the day after the surgery he figured "it was going to be pretty quick, a speedy recovery. "Usually swelling takes four or five days to get out of your system before you start rehabbing," he said. "I was starting the second day, so it sped up probably by about a week. It felt good the entire time. After the first week or 10 days, I felt like I could play. We kind of nursed it, nursed it, nursed it and then it will be three weeks. "I feel better than I have in previous years with all the stuff they've taken out of there. It was mostly over the years, the wear and tear and cleaning it out, besides the meniscus tear. It was really something that I needed. It was the best thing to do and perfect timing. It wasn't that I didn't want to have [the surgery]. It was one of those things I had to have it. Once you get your mind set on getting through it and staying positive, it healed fast. It was mind over matter." Grudzielanek said he probably would get three at-bats and play four to five innings against the Padres, then increase his workload for the final week of Spring Training depending on how his knee feels. He hopes to start at second base for the April 2 opener. "We've got some work to do here," Grudzielanek said. "Obviously, we are pushing it and see how I feel and get as close as I can. It's going to be tight." Briefly: David DeJesus, who has not played since March 14 because of an abdominal virus, also is scheduled to play on Monday. ... Commissioner Bud Selig attended the game on Sunday. ... Joey Gathright hit an inside-the-park homer, singled and walked. He also swiped two bases, running his spring total to five. On deck: Duckworth will start against right-hander Clay Hensley when the Royals and Padres play on Monday at 9:05 p.m. CT at Peoria Stadium.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.