'Old guy' Green comes through in clutch for Dogs
Athletics prospect hits first homer of AFL season to break 1-1 tie in bottom of seventh
At 25 years old, Grant Green isn't exactly used to being called the "old guy." But during his second go-round in the Arizona Fall League, it's a role he's embraced lately.
"It's definitely different now," he said. "Being here a second time, I'm one of the older ones on the team and with that, I'm trying to help guys out with the experience I have. ... A lot of it has to do with dealing with the daily grind. Most of it I got myself from the older guys I've played with, like in Triple-A [Sacramento] where we had a bunch of older guys with us this year. I just want to use the stories and the tricks I got from them and pass it on."
Then again, there's a time for telling younger players lessons, and there are times to just show them. Green did the latter on Friday.
The A's No. 5 prospect smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to break a 1-1 tie between Phoenix and Surprise. Green's Desert Dogs would go on to win, 3-1, over the first-place Saguaros and improved to 8-10 on the AFL season.
Experience, again, played a role in the late-inning proceedings. When the University of Southern California product stepped into the box to start the seventh, he faced Mets hurler Greg Peavey, a former Pac-10 rival from his days at Oregon State University.
The two right-handers squared off for seven pitches, thanks to four straight foul balls off the bat of Green, before he finally connected for a shot over the left-center wall.
"He was a guy I faced a few times in college, so that helped," said MLB.com's No. 98 prospect, who finished the day 1-for-3. "I just wanted to get on base and let the guys behind me rally up from there. I fouled a few off before he left a fastball up, and I was finally able to get ahold of one."
The longball was Green's first homer of the fall after failing to go deep in his first 11 games with Phoenix. Through his first dozen contests, the California native is batting .265 with the lone home run and six RBIs. That comes following a season when produced numbers of .296, 15 and 75 in his first year at the Triple-A level with Sacramento.
Although Green's AFL numbers come with a small dip from his usual production, they come with the caveat that he is also undergoing yet another position change. The A's moved Green, who played shortstop in college and his first few years in the pros, to the outfield during his first trip to the AFL and for the start of the regular season, only to see him return to the infield more and more as the year wore on.
He has played exclusively at second base during the AFL season, after appearing in 19 games at the position for the River Cats -- all after July 31. Although Green says the transition continues to go smoothly, it seems that the "old guy" in the Desert Dogs clubhouse still has some lessons of his own to learn this fall.
"I'm feeling really comfortable over there," Green said. "I've only been there a few months, but it's good to be back in the infield and to get game experience over there again. One reason I think they sent me here again in the first place was to learn the position better and play it more, so I'm not just another guy out there."
Braves prospect Nick Ahmed put Phoenix on the board with a leadoff homer in the first inning. The blast was also his first in the AFL. Chris Rearick (Rays) earned his first win to improve to 1-1 after striking out two over two scoreless innings in relief.
Cardinals catcher Cody Stanley hit a solo homer for the Saguaros' only run. His battery mate and fellow St. Louis prospect, Boone Whiting, allowed one run on three hits and struck out four over four innings as the Surprise starter but didn't factor into the decision.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.