In his first start since breaking his clavicle in a April 11 brawl, Los Angeles' Zack Greinke limited the Nationals to five hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings.


LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers no sooner got Zack Greinke back from the disabled list when Josh Beckett took his place there Wednesday.

Beckett went on the 15-day DL retroactive to Tuesday with a strained left groin. He is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts this season. The right-hander turned 33 on Wednesday.

He left after three innings of Monday's 6-2 loss to Washington when he tweaked his groin covering first base on a grounder.

Manager Don Mattingly said that after 24 hours Beckett still wasn't feeling any better.

"On the second day he goes, 'I really don't feel like I can play catch,' " Mattingly said. "It's a no-brainer at that point because you know he's not going to make a start, so that's 10 days. We're already up to 10 days so 15 is not really a lot extra. Plus, he has those little issues that we hope we can get on top of too."

Mattingly and Beckett haven't specified what those other issues are.

Greinke was reinstated in time to start the series finale on Wednesday night, three weeks earlier than had originally been projected. He gave up five hits and one run with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

He broke his left clavicle in a fight with San Diego's Carlos Quentin on April 11, and was expected to be out eight weeks.

Mets' Collins apologizes

ST. LOUIS - Mets manager Terry Collins apologized in a fashion, a day after criticizing New York fans who thought he hadn't defended one of his players.

The Mets began Wednesday on a five-game losing streak and with six losses in seven games, and the manager said his words were caused by frustration.

"You know, I'm a human being and I made a bad choice of words," Collins said.

Collins said Tuesday that he wasn't accountable to fans who have "absolutely no idea what goes on."

He'd had no issue with the Pirates plunking Jordany Valdespin during last weekend's series after he admired a home run too long, and he said Valdespin had been aware he'd be targeted.

On Wednesday, Collins complimented the "most knowledgeable fans I've ever been around," and said he understood that drama surrounding the team might be interesting when a team is losing.

Inside pitch

• Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto is on target to rejoin the rotation next week after making his second injury rehabilitation start. The right-hander has been on the DL since April 15 because of a strained muscle in his upper right arm. Barring a setback, he'll likely start one of the games early next week against the Mets, manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday.

• In a need of a lift in the rotation, the Phillies are taking a chance on Carlos Zambrano. The three-time All-Star agreed to a minor-league contract with Philadelphia and will report to Florida for extended spring training. Zambrano is known as much for his volatile outbursts and dugout confrontations with teammates as he is for his 132 wins over 12 seasons and a no-hitter.