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WSH@LAD: Greinke on his return from the DL

MILWAUKEE -- Zack Greinke is not exactly known for chatting around the batting cage, but he made an exception last month for old Brewers teammate Carlos Gomez.

According to Gomez, the exchange went like this:

Gomez: "I want to face you. You've owned me in my career. You've given me many, many outs. Now, I'm prepared to face you."

Greinke: "No you're not. I'm going to strike you out."

Gomez: "Not anymore. Next time, I'm going to get you. Let's see."

Fans can tune in Tuesday night to see how this friendly rivalry plays out. Dodgers right-hander Greinke, who was with the Brewers from the start of 2011 through the 2012 Trade Deadline, will return to face the Brewers at Miller Park. He never absorbed a loss here in 23 starts for the Brewers and one relief appearance for the Royals. Greinke is 15-0 with a 2.89 ERA in those 24 games, and his team won all but one of them -- a 2-1 loss to the Reds last May.

Greinke declined to talk to the media on Monday, but his former Brewers teammates were buzzing about the challenge ahead.

"We're not happy because we don't want to face one of the best pitchers in the game," Gomez said, "but it's exciting. When you have success in a game against one of the best pitchers, you're going to feel better going forward."

Greinke was supposed to join his old catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, for dinner on Sunday night. But the Dodgers were delayed in Atlanta, so Lucroy and wife Sarah went instead with Emily Greinke, Zack's wife. Lucroy's reunion waited until Monday, and on Tuesday, Lucroy might find himself in the batter's box if he's picked to catch Brewers starter Hiram Burgos.

"It would be fun facing him instead of catching him this time," Lucroy said. "It would be a good challenge. We loved him here. He really helped us out, especially in that big year [2011] in the playoffs."

Who will have the upper hand on Tuesday? Lucroy knows Greinke's stuff as well as anyone, but Greinke spent a season and a half studying Brewers hitters. Lucroy argued it would be a wash, and Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke agreed.

"The thing with Zack is, he's able to change things he does, and he can do it in a hurry," Roenicke said. "Last year he decided he wanted to throw a cutter some, and the first outing I saw him use it, he was getting strikeouts. Because he's such a good athlete, he's able to adapt to what he sees. In my conversations with him over the last couple of years, if he wanted to change the way he pitched to a certain team, he could do it. He knows us well, and Zack is not just a guy who sits around and takes things for granted."

His teammates were sad to see Greinke go last July, when general manager Doug Melvin traded him to the Angels for a trio of Minor Leaguers. Nearly a year later, the deal looks like a steal for Milwaukee. The Angels missed the postseason, and Greinke left via free agency over the winter. The Brewers got their Opening Day shortstop, Jean Segura, who entered Monday as the National League's leading hitter at .364, plus pitching prospects Johnny Hellweg (at Triple-A Nashville) and Ariel Pena (Double-A Huntsville).

Eventually, Greinke signed a record-setting contract with the Dodgers.

"He was a great teammate, a great player to be around," Gomez said. "Everybody is different. Not everybody comes like me. He does not talk too much, but when he does talk, you have to listen, because everything he says is true. He is honest, completely. Open heart."

Gomez says he talked hitting often with Greinke, who offered words of confidence. Greinke once told Gomez, "If I'm a manager or have to pick who's going to play when I pitch, you're my center fielder every day. No matter what. He gave me some advice about hitting, told me he saw I was getting better."

Said Ryan Braun: "I'd rather face a bad starter than him, but from a competition standpoint, it's going to be fun."

Dodgers: Kemp coming alive?
Center fielder Matt Kemp hit his second home run of the year on Monday and improved his solid numbers against the Brewers. Kemp is a career .298 hitter (39-for-131) with seven homers against Milwaukee. Andre Ethier homered Monday and has nine career homers vs. the Brewers.

• Dodgers starting pitching is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA (10 earned runs in 56 1/3 innings) in its past nine starts. In that time, those pitchers have struck out 53.

Brewers: Burgos learning
Burgos will make his sixth start for the Brewers and second start against Los Angeles. Burgos last started on Thursday at Pittsburgh and took a 7-1 defeat, but his line of three earned runs in five innings was an improvement over his previous outing.

Burgos received a no-decision in his first start against Los Angeles on April 26 at Dodger Stadium. He gave up three earned runs on four hits that night in a game the Brewers lost, 7-5.

Worth noting
• The Dodgers are 22-15 all-time at Miller Park and 61-41 (.594) all-time against the Brewers since their move to the NL in 1998. This is despite losing the 2012 season series to Milwaukee, 1-6.

• Brewers rookie closer Jim Henderson has gone 8-for-8 in save opportunities this season while posting a 1.00 ERA (two earned runs in 18 innings) and holding opponents to a .143 batting average.

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