Organizers of MLB's season-opening D-Backs-Dodgers series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia are "upset about comments" disparaging the trip by Dodgers P Zack Greinke, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN L.A. Greinke: "I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it. There just isn't any excitement to it. I can't think of one reason to be excited for it." Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten said, "Zack has this endearing, contrarian quality to him that we all know and love about him. He's famously focused and meticulous about his training regimen. It's what makes him so good and such a great teammate. This is clearly going to alter his routine. I understand that aspect of it. ... As an organization, we couldn't be more excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Saxon noted the season-opening series was "planned between" Australian officials, MLB, the MLBPA, the Dodgers and the D-Backs. The teams "open their seasons more than a week before the other MLB teams." Meanwhile, the Dodgers have considered holding P Clayton Kershaw "out of the games in Australia so they could use him" in their March 30 U.S. opener against the Padres and their April 4 home opener against the Giants (ESPNLA.com, 2/23). The SYDNEY MORNING HERALD reports given the "amount of money being poured into opening the season" there, organizers in Australia were "far from thrilled with Greinke's comments and fired off a ‘please explain’ to the MLB and the players’ association." But they were then "assured by officials in America that there is still enthusiasm among the players to spread the gospel of baseball in Sydney and that Greinke doesn’t reflect the overall sentiment of the Dodgers organisation." Still, Kershaw skipping the trip would be "a major blow for the concept, given the MLB would be eager to showcase its biggest stars to a new market" (SMH.com.au, 2/24).
CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH? In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote Greinke was saying what "probably most every player was thinking but not espousing publicly." The trip to Australia is "one major injury away from being a complete disaster." Players have "nothing against wanting to help expand baseball internationally, and certainly nothing against Australia." Dilbeck: "Probably all the players would like to give it a visit. Just not officially begin their season there in a chopped-up start that could leave them less than ready to resume it eight days later." The series is "weird and impractical, and with precious little reason for a player to get excited about" (LATIMES.com, 2/23).