Talent intact, Greinke is back

Updated: February 6, 2007, 12:33 PM ET
Zack Greinke's legs were folded underneath him, Indian-style, as he waited for his turn in the Kansas City bullpen this past Sept. 24. The Royals were about to play their final home game of the season, and with the roster expanded, a handful of Kansas City pitchers needed to get in some throwing. Nothing serious, just some daily maintenance work from the rubber.

When it was Greinke's turn to take the mound, he peeled off his jacket and stepped to the rubber. "He threw 15 four-seam fastballs," recalled Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore, "and hits the glove every time." The bullpen catcher shifted his target, move over the inside corner, the outside corner, down. It didn't matter; Greinke's control was flawless. Pop ... pop ... pop .... "It was a thing of beauty," Moore said. "His delivery repeated, every single pitch. The guy is talented."

Greinke had reached the big leagues at age 20, produced a respectable 3.97 ERA in 24 starts in 2004. He was considered to be one of the best young pitchers in baseball, and, because of his remarkable control and the movement on his fastball, he was often compared to Greg Maddux.