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Zack Greinke takes a leave of absence

In 2004, Zack Greinke looked like an up-and-coming star for the beleaguered Kansas City Royals. Unfortunately, he took a huge step back in 2005, posting a 5-17 record and 5.80 ERA. Were you hoping he'd rebound in 2006? Well, you're going to have to wait. . . indefinitely.

According to the Kansas City Star, Greinke has left the team to deal with "ongoing emotional issues," and the team is prepared to deal with an extended absence:

[Royals GM Allard] Baird previously said "no timetable" exists for Greinke's return, but club officials are already bracing for a prolonged absence. Manager Buddy Bell said he doesn't expect Greinke, at this point, to be ready to be in the starting rotation when the season begins April 3.

"That could change," Bell said, "but I don't think it will."

Sources confirmed previous statements by Baird and Bell that Greinke's departure was not a disciplinary matter, a legal issue, due to a physical injury or reflected a lack of desire to remain in baseball. Sources also confirmed the issue did not involve a family member or any other person.

I wasn't among those that were prepared to gamble on Greinke anyway this year, but if you were, you should probably re-consider. He's a young kid with ostensibly a bright future, but even if he returns to the mound soon I don't think this is his true breakout season.

Greinke dealing with issues [Kansas City Star]