Greene looking to right the ship

CLINTON, IA - Clinton third baseman Jonathan Greene wasn't satisfied with his first half, but he has been on fire lately, hitting four home runs over his last three games. Lone Star Dugout features the 22-year-old.

Jonathan Greene impressed the Rangers' brass with his offensive ability at short-season Spokane in 2007.

A utility man that played all over the field – including behind the plate – at Western Carolina University, Greene was drafted as a catcher in the eighth round of the 2007 MLB Draft.

Playing as a full-time catcher with Spokane, Greene got off to a hot start, hitting .306 with seven home runs in June and July. But after catching in 45 of his 58 games with the Indians, Greene began to wear down and he limped to the finish line.

Unfortunately for Greene, he wasn't able to get off to another hot start this season. Although he played well in May, the native of North Carolina batted just .214 and .216 in April and June, respectively. Greene came away from his first half understandably disappointed, but he is looking to turn it around in the second half.

"I've struggled all year," said Greene. "I've got a couple of RBIs and a couple of home runs, but I was expecting to have a better year. Hopefully I can turn the second half around and have a better year."

Greene showed promise in May, hitting .275 with eight doubles and four home runs while drawing 18 walks. He walked just 10 total times in April and June combined.

"That's the way hitting goes sometimes," replied Greene when asked about his hot streak. "You're seeing the ball real good and then other times you're not seeing it. The ups and downs, I have tried to even them out more, but I've had more downs than I have had ups right now."

As the LumberKings make their way into the season's second half, the 22-year-old just wants to see the ball better.

"Right now I'm just trying to concentrate on seeing the ball and not swing at bad pitches," he said. "I'm just mainly trying to make my zone a little bit smaller so I'll be able to see the ball a little better."

That goal appears to be paying off for Greene thus far. On Monday evening, Greene put the game well out of hand with his three-run homer off the scoreboard in left-center field.

"He threw me a first pitch changeup and I fouled it back," said Greene of the at-bat. "That was a good pitch to hit. Then he came with a slider in for a ball. Then I was just looking for a fastball and he gave it. I just tried to put a good swing on it."

Greene has remained hot since that at-bat, as he hit one home run on Tuesday and added two in a three-for-five effort on Wednesday night.

Because Greene is not doing any catching this season – he has spent his time at third base – he may be less likely to wear down during the second half.

Even though the Rangers drafted Greene as a catcher, he says he doesn't expect to move back to the position.

"As of right now, our organization is pretty well set on catching," he said. "I'm just glad they are letting me move around a little bit. I'm playing third now. We'll just see how it goes."

Third base may not be Greene's only position this season. The versatile player has recently picked up a first baseman's mitt and has been taking ground balls at first during batting practice.

"Maybe like if Mitch [Moreland] needs a day off or something happens to him," said Greene, who played one game at first base in college, on his chances of playing the position with Clinton. "I'm just the backup for Mitch right now over there at first."

But for the remainder of the season, Greene would just like to focus on gaining some consistency at the plate.

"I just want to try and forget about the first half," Greene said. "I want to go day-by-day and just put quality at-bats together."

With four home runs in nine games since the Midwest League All-Star break, Greene may be well on his way to righting the ship.


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