JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Zack Greinke wants to sharpen his slider without neglecting his other pitches.
“Sometimes if you spend a lot of time on something new, the stuff you do good sometimes suffers from it,” Greinke said Friday after his first spring training outing. “You've got to, No. 1, make sure your other stuff stays good, then, hopefully, improve in some ways.”
Greinke arrived at spring training on Feb. 22, nine days after the voluntary reporting date, preferring to stay on his own program.
”Everybody's worried about him not being in camp,” new manager Dusty Baker said. "That shows that he's been working. He came to camp ready.”
Greinke mixed about a half dozen sliders into his two-inning, 28-pitch outing for Houston in a 6-4 victory over the Miami Marlins. The 36-year-old right-hander threw 22 strikes.
“The second inning was much better than the first inning, slider wise,” catcher Martín Maldonado said.
Greinke's fastball approached 90 mph. He struck out three of seven batters, mixing in a few change-ups and curveballs.
Reporting later shortened his long year.
"So by the end of the year the mental grind of the season is a little bit less,” Greinke said.
Speedster Magneuris Sierra led off the first with an infield single, stole second, advanced on a throwing error and scored an unearned run on Francisco Cervelli's sacrifice fly.
“I was kind of just trying to throw everything in different locations,” Greinke said. “It felt pretty good. I wasn't in mid-season form or anything, but all the pitches were pretty close. Just command needs to get a little bit better and pitches a little more consistent.”
The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City and a six-time All-Star, Greinke was acquired from Arizona at the July 31 trade deadline. He was 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts for the Astros, giving him 205 wins.
The Marlins had opened spring training with six wins, second to the Florida Marlins' 11 in 1997 — the year of the team's first World Series title.