Is Former Houston Astros Ace Hinting At Comeback?

Quietly, a quirky former Houston Astros starting pitcher is throwing to Arizona Diamondbacks hitters in extended spring training.
Oct 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke.
Oct 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Astros are one of many teams this season that have struggled with injuries to starting pitchers. When you have that many injuries, you start to look in places you might not expect.

Could one of those unexpected places be Zack Greinke?

The quirky 40-year-old right-hander threw for the Kansas City Royals last season, but he never officially retired. He’s been a free agent all this time. The former first-round pick has spent most of his time throwing batting practice to his sons.

On Friday, Greinke was at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training facility throwing to hitters.

This being Greinke, nothing is particularly clear about what he’s pursuing. In fact, he said he’s only been throwing like a pro the last two weeks and doesn’t want to label his appearance at the facility.

“My arm feels decent at the moment,” Greinke told the Arizona Republic. “I was trying to get as good as I could at golfing the past two months, and I was like, ‘Why am I trying to be a pro golfer when I’m already kind of a pro baseball player?’ So I figured I’d throw a little and see how it goes.”

That’s how it goes with Greinke, who is one of the game’s most beloved characters and a player that just about every former teammate has a story about — and it usually involves his off-beat sense of humor.

The Diamondbacks are letting him use their facility because he played for them from 2016-19.

In that 2019 season the Diamondbacks dealt him to the Houston Astros, where he formed a tandem with Justin Verlander. In his 10 starts with Houston that season he went 8-1 and he helped them reach the World Series, where they lost to the Washington Nationals.

He remained with the Astros in 2020 and 2021 and wrapped up his career with Houston with a 22-10 with a 3.89 ERA. He also helped them reach the 2021 World Series. After that, he returned to Kansas City, where he started his career.

If he’s interested in a comeback, he’s likely to have suitors for a half-season of an arm that won 225 games, a Cy Young and six Gold Gloves. He even won two Silver Sluggers as a pitcher.

Perhaps the Astros could be one of them.

Matthew Postins


Matthew Postins is an award-winning sports journalist who covers the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He also covers he Big 12 for Heartland College Sports.