The Los Angeles Dodgers have been without starting pitcher Zack Greinke for over a month with a broken collarbone, but the 29-year-old ace will return to the mound on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals.
The team's official Twitter account confirmed the news on Tuesday afternoon:
Welcome back, Zack! Zack Greinke is expected to start in the series finale against the #Nationals tomorrow night.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 14, 2013
Greinke hasn't pitched since April 11, when he and San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin grabbed headlines in the sixth inning. Pitching to Quentin on a 3-2 count, Greinke plunked Quentin in the right shoulder, and the outfielder charged the mound in what led to a bench-clearing brawl between the two clubs.
Greinke broke his collarbone in the process, taking on the charging Quentin with his left (non-throwing) shoulder.
The news couldn't come at a better time for Dodgers fans.
L.A. was 6-3 at the completion of the April 11 win over San Diego, but since then, injuries and poor play have started to mount. The Dodgers are just 9-19 since that game and will boast a meager 15-22 record heading into Wednesday night's showdown with the Nationals.
How will Greinke's return affect the Dodgers?
The team also lost eight straight games to open up the month of May before finally breaking through against the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
Greinke will hopefully provide a spark that has clearly been missing in the rotation since he has been sidelined with the injury. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been bright spots so far (eight wins between the pair) but the rest of the rotation has been lacking, lowlighted by Josh Beckett's winless start (0-5).
The former Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers ace was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA at the time of the injury and holds career marks of 92-78 and a 3.75 ERA. He'll face a tough test on Wednesday night when the Nats are in town for the final matchup of a three-game set.
Greinke signed a massive six-year deal with the team in the winter that could be worth up to $158 million if he meets all the incentives (h/t Los Angeles Times).