GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke had no trouble giving an honest assessment of the "meatballs" he threw at the Chicago White Sox on Monday. But when the questions turned off the field, to the competitor with the big, new contract, he got quiet. The topic was Matt Cain, who agreed to a five-year extension, reportedly worth $112.5 million, with the Giants on Monday that makes Cain the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in baseball history. It almost certainly has bearing on the Brewers' talks with Greinke, though Greinke wouldn't say so. "We'll see," he said with a smile.
The Major League Baseball Players Association confirmed Monday morning that Greinke still has not registered an agent. That means he is speaking on his own behalf, though since March 18 he has deflected questions about business. Greinke told the team's three regular beat reporters on Monday that, "Business stuff, I don't feel is important for you guys to know until it actually comes out." Greinke also declined to say whether he was open to continuing discussions past Friday, when Yovani Gallardo starts the Brewers' regular-season opener against the Cardinals. Greinke pitches the next day opposite Adam Wainwright. Greinke is 28; Cain 27. Greinke has just over seven years of Major League service and Cain six, but both were on a path to hit free agency in October. Greinke has a 3.82 ERA and a 1.256 WHIP in 197 starts and 41 relief appearances. Cain has a 3.35 ERA and a 1.196 WHIP in 203 starts and one relief stint. Greinke has a Cy Young Award. Cain has a World Series ring. "Obviously, he's really good," Greinke said. "I can't really get into if I think I compare to him or I don't think I compare to him. That's more business stuff I don't feel like giving y'all my opinion on." Greinke carried a 0.93 ERA into Monday's start against the White Sox but lasted only three innings, charged with six runs, five earned, on five hits including a home run, three walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch. Most of the damage came in a five-run second inning that began with an error charged to third baseman Brooks Conrad, then a Greinke walk and a hit. He typically has a photographic memory of every pitch, but when Greinke spoke to reporters a few minutes after leaving the game, he said he could scarcely remember the sequence. "It was just such a mess, I can't really even think about it too much," Greinke said. "It felt like not a baseball game going on out there." The problem? "It was more just getting behind in the count and throwing meatballs and letting them crush the ball," he said. "It was pretty stupid."