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Monday, April 28, 2014
Series preview: Dodgers at Twins

By Mark Saxon

Zack Greinke's feelings about traveling to Australia are making more sense by the day. Greinke ruffled some feathers overseas when he said this spring he had, “zero excitement,” for the Dodgers’ season-opening trip, but he was speaking about the disruption to his routine rather than some grudge against Australia.

Greinke skipped the journey after straining a calf muscle and he has been on quite a roll (while Clayton Kershaw is still working his way back from an injury he picked up in Australia).

Going into Tuesday night’s start in Minnesota, Greinke is in the midst of a 16-start streak in which he has gone at least five innings and allowed two runs or fewer. He said he’s keeping it simple, trying to get through the starts in which he doesn’t have his best stuff. Lately, that’s been rare.

“What I really try to do is not have a bad game and it’s been working for a while,” Greinke said.

The Twins (12-11) are off to a stronger-than-expected start and, unlike most of the Dodgers, facing them won’t be an unusual assignment for Greinke, who spent most of his career in the American League. Greinke is 4-8 with a 4.73 ERA in 22 games vs. Minnesota, though the overwhelming majority of those starts came early in Greinke’s career when he was breaking in with the Kansas City Royals.

The Dodgers haven’t played at Target Field since 2011, when they lost two of three games there.

The Twins, who were rained out Sunday, lead the major leagues in walks and are second in runs scored. They walked eight times in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers Saturday.

The Dodgers figure to get Hanley Ramirez back during the series at some point. Ramirez jammed his right thumb while hitting Saturday and missed Sunday’s game. They won’t, however, get Kershaw back. The Dodgers’ ace pushed to return from the disabled list Wednesday, but the team insisted he make one more minor-league rehabilitation assignment, which likely will come at Double-A Chattanooga.

The weather forecast for Minneapolis Tuesday is rain and snow and a high of 37 degrees.