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LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke insists he's not rushing his return because his highly touted team is in last place.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Tuesday that Greinke will come off the disabled list and face the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, 4½ weeks after fracturing his left collarbone in a fight with San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and more than three weeks ahead of the original timetable.
"I would think if everyone in baseball had the same feeling I do, everyone would be playing," Greinke said. "Maybe not if you're a shortstop or a catcher, but every pitcher, I would think, would be playing. So, it's nothing superhero-ish or anything. If you felt what I feel, then you'd be doing the same thing."
The Dodgers considered giving Greinke one more rehab start at Class-A, but after a debate between trainers, doctors, general manager Ned Colletti, Greinke and manager Don Mattingly, they elected to start Greinke rather than rookie Matt Magill against Washington.
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his first two starts before Quentin, upset after being hit by a pitch, charged the mound and collided with Greinke on April 11.
The Dodgers have used nine starting pitchers this season and made 13 DL moves, most in the majors. They finally are close to returning to full health. Second baseman Mark Ellis will play two rehab games at Double-A Chattanooga over the weekend before rejoining the Dodgers. Pitcher Ted Lilly should return soon thereafter. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, the last big name on the DL, is expected back around mid-June.
"It gives us a chance of putting our full club out there, the club we kind of envisioned," Mattingly said. "Zack is, obviously, a big key. Getting him back kind of gives you another [Clayton] Kershaw and, the way Hyun-Jin [Ryu] is pitching, that's a pretty good threesome right there. You feel like you're going to get good outings. You're going to keep your bullpen in order.
The Dodgers, who entered 2013 with a record $220 million payroll, went into Tuesday night's game 15-22 and in last place in the NL West, 7½ games behind the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers are considering putting Josh Beckett, 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA, on the DL after he slightly strained a groin muscle covering first base Monday night.
The Dodgers have asked Greinke not to dive for any batted balls and to use caution while covering first base. Greinke took batting practice for the first time Tuesday, but he likely will be under instructions to take pitches or bunt, but not to swing.
"I might not be able to swing as hard as Carlos Gomez swings," Greinke said. "I could probably try to hit a home run. It's probably not worth doing, but I could do it."