Greene just wants to play

After being picked in the eighth round of the 2007 draft, 22-year-old catcher/third baseman Jonathan Greene went on to bat .248 with 11 home runs for the short-season Spokane Indians. Lone Star Dugout has a feature with the former Western Carolina standout.

When a team accumulates five first round draft picks, some players are bound to be overlooked in their first professional season.

That was certainly the case for eighth round pick Jonathan Greene. The former Western Carolina standout didn't garner the attention that some of the other top draft picks did, but his debut was strong. Greene played with the short-season Spokane Indians and batted .248 with 11 home runs – good enough for fourth in the Northwest League.

Though Greene was generally pleased with his performance in Spokane, he feels he struggled late.

"I felt like I had a good season [in Spokane], but I sort of dropped off the last couple of weeks," said Greene. "I felt like I had a pretty good season there starting out."

Greene batted .306 with the Indians in July and August, but that number dropped to .184 in 29 games between August and September. After starting 62 games at Western Carolina, Greene felt he grew tired down the stretch.

"I got a little bit tired towards the end of the season at Spokane," he said, "but I feel like my body is getting used to it. I feel good now."

Now heading into the offseason, Greene says one of his primary goals is to make sure he doesn't wear down next year.

"I feel like I need to become more consistent and just be able to play in and out every day," said Greene. "I need to let my body be able to handle it better."

The native of Boone, North Carolina, joined the Rangers' fall instructional league club in Arizona about a month after the minor league regular season came to a close. Greene says he focused on refining his swing both in Spokane and Arizona.

"They have tweaked my swing," replied Greene. "They've made it better, made it shorter. They've done a lot. I feel like I have made a lot of improvements. They have changed me a lot and I'm happy with what they're doing with me."

Greene also believes he will continue to work on his swing for the rest of his career, as is the case with any hitter.

"Every good player is working on their swing at all times, trying to get better," he said. "I've learned a lot here and they have helped me out a lot."

The right-handed hitter belted a long home run straight down the left field line in one of the final instructs games of the fall. Greene says he simply got the pitch he was looking for.

"They had been coming first-pitch fastballs with me," said Greene, "so I just tried to get a pitch I could drive and he threw it in there. It was just one of those things where I put a good swing on it."

Few doubt that Greene has a chance to be an impact hitter at the professional level, but defense has been a question for him. After splitting his time at catcher, third base and outfield in college, Greene spent his entire professional debut behind the plate.

Greene remained at catcher for the first couple of weeks of instructionals, but he moved to third base during the last week. The 22-year-old is unsure as to what the Rangers' long-term plans for him are, but he knows it won't be in the outfield.

"No," said Greene when asked if he knew what position he would end up at, "I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'll do what they tell me. But I probably won't play [in the outfield]."

Finding a position doesn't appear to be much of a problem for Greene personally. He just wants to be in the everyday lineup.

"As long as I get to play," he said, "that's all that really matters."

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