It's Opening Week and Zack Greinke is set to make his first start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Given the question marks surrounding the state of his right elbow, that's a victory in itself for the Dodgers, as they open a three-game series against Pittsburgh at Chavez Ravine on Friday night.
The Dodgers signed Greinke in December to a six-year, $147 million contract, the most lucrative deal ever for a right-hander at the time, though Detroit's Justin Verlander recently surpassed that.
Greinke received a platelet-rich plasma injection early in the spring, and the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner missed a few weeks following the procedure. He returned on March 25 and threw 64 pitches over three innings, and on March 30, he threw 81 pitches over five.
"I still don't know how it's going to react," Greinke said of pitching every fifth day. "[The elbow] should be fine, but I guess it could pop up again."
Fortunately for Los Angeles, Greinke's start comes after an off-day, so even if he can't work deep into the game, the club should be well-rested.
Jonathan Sanchez, who gets the ball for Pittsburgh, is also a new face in a new place. He made the club out of Spring Training after inking a Minor League deal with the Pirates in early February.
Sanchez posted an 8.07 ERA for the Rockies and Royals, and he had what was arguably the worst season for any pitcher in 2012.
"I want to show people I can pitch, and stay with this team," Sanchez said. "They gave me a second opportunity. I hope I stay here longer."
The Dodgers are a familiar foe for Sanchez, who spent six seasons with the Giants. He is 3-6 with a 4.66 ERA against Los Angeles in 17 outings.
Pirates: McCutchen still runnin'
• Andrew McCutchen stole his third and fourth base of the young season against the Cubs on Thursday and is 4-for-4 in stolen-base attempts.
McCutchen had been hoping to use his legs more this season after going just 20-for-32 in stolen-base attempts last year.
"Small sample, but very encouraging to see," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Actions speak louder than words. In the winter, we talk about a lot of things, and his intent is to make the words jump off the paper and become real."
Dodgers: Billingsley, Lilly set to rehab
• Right-hander Chad Billingsley was scheduled to start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night, and lefty Ted Lilly will start there on Friday.
The pair of veteran pitchers are recovering from injuries -- Billingsley from a bruised right index finger and Lilly from last year's shoulder surgery.
If all goes well, Billingsley will likely make his regular-season debut on April 10, but Lilly could take a bit more time before he is big league ready.
"Teddy got behind early coming off surgery and never got caught up," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's had only [nine] innings against Major League hitting."
• Greinke has held McCutchen to just three hits in 15 at-bats. Bucs shortstop Clint Barmes, on the other hand, is 7-for-11 against Greinke with a walk and two doubles.
• Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is 11-for-32 (.344) against Sanchez with one homer, three doubles and eight RBIs.
• The Pirates haven't won a season series against the Dodgers since they took five of nine during the 2000 campaign. In fact, from 2001-12, Los Angeles is 63-24 in games against Pittsburgh, including 32-10 at Dodger Stadium.
• Former Dodger Russell Martin has yet to record a hit for his new club, going 0-for-10 against the Cubs in the Pirates' opening series. The 30-year-old catcher, who hit 39 combined homers with the Yankees over the past two seasons, spent his first five years in the Majors with the Dodgers.