The Padres traded longtime outfielder Will Venable to the Texas Rangers last August and received two players back in the deal. One, reliever Jon Edwards has already made his debut with the Padres, while the other, catcher Marcus Greene Jr. has finally started playing in games after undergoing Tommy John surgery nearly 11 months ago.
Greene, 21, was drafted in the 16th round by the Texas Rangers in 2013 and hasn’t played more than 58 games since turning pro. The young catcher has played some outfield in his career and does have some power potential, as evidenced by a career-high five home runs in just 78 at-bats last season in Low-A. Greene is currently playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm and talked to us before a recent game at the Diamond.
MadFriars: What is the initial reaction when you are traded for a big league veteran like Will Venable?
Marcus Greene Jr.: When it happened, I wasn’t expecting it all. As soon as it happened, I had to take it for what it was and just make the adjustment to a new organization.
Was there a huge adjustment, in terms of philosophy in going from Texas to San Diego?
Marcus Greene Jr.: No, not at all. You’re still playing the same game. It came really quick, right after I had elbow surgery, so I wasn’t expecting it (laughs). I just tried to come over here (to San Diego) and get to know everybody and take care of business.
In regards to the elbow surgery, did anything in the rehab process change after switching organizations?
Marcus Greene Jr.: No, not really. Everybody follows the same procedures and does the same thing.
Thus far with the Storm, you have exclusively played at catcher. Are there any plans to play the outfield like you have in the Texas organization?
Marcus Greene Jr.: I’m pretty much locked in behind the plate. But if the organization wants me to play outfielder, or anywhere else, I’ll do whatever I am asked.
In the recovery process, is it more of a burden on your arm playing catcher?
Marcus Greene Jr.: It all comes down to throwing the ball. Of course, there are more throws being behind the plate, but I have monitored my throws early on to keep the strength up throughout the season. After this first full off-season, I will be able to throw without restriction in 2017.
How do you approach working with a new pitching staff and catching guys you may not be familiar with?
Marcus Greene Jr.: With the first time in a new organization, I have talked to the pitchers and I have attempted to get to know them. I met a lot of these guys in the spring and I am working just to build upon those conversations and develop a good relationship with the staff.
How would you describe your approach at the plate?
Marcus Greene Jr.: I just try to win the battle at the plate. I wouldn’t describe myself as a “dead-pull” or an “oppo-hitter” I just try to hit the ball hard wherever it is pitched. I want to get a pitch I can handle and drive it, whether it’s up the middle or to left.
We know a lot about the recovery process of Tommy John surgery from a pitcher’s perspective but can you tell us what a position player experiences?
Marcus Greene Jr.: So far, I’m just over 11 months out in the recovery process, I came back sooner than most pitchers do. It’s a lot different because a lot of catchers haven’t had it. I have had to play it by ear and see how my elbow reacts to everything. I have worked hard to take care of my arm and my body. So far, I have experienced any complications.
Have you had to change anything with your swing after the surgery?
Marcus Greene Jr.: No, not at all. There’s no stress at all when I am swinging, mainly its the external rotation with throwing, putting a lot of stress on the elbow. You just have to make sure that you build up your strength the right way and jump too far ahead in the rehab process. It is still healing and will continue to heal for up to two years.