Greinke timetable getting clearer

Right-hander Zack Greinke threw his second bullpen session on Saturday and is on a tentative schedule that puts him back in the Brewers’ starting rotation during the first week of May.

Greinke is no longer feeling any discomfort from his cracked left rib and again threw his full assortment of pitches in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon. He has a series of bullpens and simulated games ahead of him, but the Brewers have already scheduled two rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Nashville during the final week of April. Greinke would throw 40-45 pitches in the first and about 75 pitches in the second.

Assuming he has no setbacks along that aggressive schedule, then he would be ready to make his Brewers debut during a three-city road trip that ends with stops in Atlanta (May 2-5) and St. Louis (May 6-8).

“Everything is feeling good,” Greinke said after Saturday’s session. “Now it’s just as fast as I can get ready. It’s not 100 percent right now, but it’s pretty good.”

Greinke was asked how stretched out he’d have to be to feel comfortable starting a Major League game.

“It depends on how you’re feeling,” he said. “It’s possible I may need to get a full, six-inning start [in the Minors]. It’s possible it’s just three innings. That’s just my opinion. … It usually takes four or five [starts] in Spring Training to start feeling good, but at the same time I’m kind of messing around your first couple of starts.

“So, maybe I’ll still need five. Maybe only two or three. I don’t know. I’ve never had to come back like this before.”

As for his arm strength, “It’s not there yet, but maybe not too much longer for that. [When the arm strength is back,] then you get pitching down a little bit.”

The Brewers will rely partly on Greinke’s own analysis of his progress.

“He’s going to have to tell us if he’s ready to go,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

“Too bad it wasn’t a couple of weeks ago at this point,” he said. “But for right now, it’s good, so that’s nice. I’ve accepted it. It’s just too bad. I’m just trying to get ready and not have another setback, and be able to pitch the rest of the season strong. That’s the goal.”

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