BALTIMORE—Conner Greene’s long trip to the major leagues took two unexpected turns in the last two weeks. Greene, who was a seventh-round draft choice of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013 and then was traded by the Blue Jays to St. Louis for future Orioles tormentor Randal Grichuk, moved on to the Kansas City organization before signing with Baltimore last November.
After several road trips as a member of the taxi squad, Greene finally got to make his major league debut on July 27th.
He pitched three times for the Orioles with a 14.73 ERA and was designated for assignment and claimed on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 9th.
“A designation for assignment is always the best thing,” Greene said. “Your initial thoughts are negative. I don’t think anyone can help to have those initial negative thoughts. Immediately, I turned my thoughts to, ‘I’m going to go down to Triple-A. I’m going to do what I need to do. I know what I need to do to get back up here with the O’s.
“I was confident that I was going to do what I needed to do to come back. To get a call from [assistant general manager Kevin Buck] to say that I was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers was a spectacular feeling, being a Los Angeles native and just to be a part of a major league team.”
Greene met the Dodgers in Philadelphia and put up two scoreless innings in two outings before he was designated for assignment again.
“The reigning World Series champions, I was speechless,” Greene said of being claimed by his favorite team while growing up. “I was just as honored putting on the Orioles jersey as putting on the L.A. Dodgers jersey.
“I think the aspect of being a homegrown kid, though, was what made it nostalgic and made it surreal. The Dodger hat that I used to buy to wear to just go to school is now what I get to put on as my uniform. I was happy I learned some good things while I was there and came on back.”
The Orioles claimed Greene on Monday, and he was back in the big leagues a day later.
“I live day-to-day, and I don’t try to think too far ahead,” Greene said. “I knew Joe Kelly was out, and I knew the second he comes back, I’m not going to beat out Joe Kelly for his spot.”
His two outings were at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park and New York’s Citi Field, but not Dodger Stadium.
“I got to take a bunch of photos, but no pitching,” Greene said.
On Wednesday, Greene pitched two scoreless innings in the 10-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels that broke the 19-game losing streak. He started a run of six scoreless, one-hit innings that allowed the Orioles to overcome a 6-2 deficit.
“I was excited to come back to the Orioles because now I know the guys,” Greene said. “They’re familiar faces, and I wanted to share some of the things I learned over there. Hopefully I can just keep on delivering quality innings, keep that momentum going in my direction.”
Greene is eligible to receive a partial postseason share from the Dodgers, and perhaps a ring if they repeat as World Series champions.
“I know it costs a lot of money. If I didn’t have two weeks in the big leagues, I probably couldn’t afford it,” Greene said of the ring.
Each member of an organization who receives a ring must pay taxes on it.
“I’m always rooting for my team first. Once playoffs happen and we don’t have any more games, I will be rooting for them over other teams,” he said.
Notes: For the third time in the last four games, DJ Stewart is starting in left field over Austin Hays. “I’m picking my spots with both those guys,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Stew works really hard on his defense. He’s out here almost every single day, trying to improve defensively. He’s had a few misplays this year. There’s room to get better. He understands that. It’s something that he works hard on to improve. … The Orioles will take a five-man taxi squad with them to Toronto for the six-game road trip that begins on Monday. Hyde said that the two players the team adds when the rosters expand on September 1st will be on the taxi squad. … Jorge Mateo returns to the lineup after missing three games because of lower back discomfort. Mateo will be playing second base. … Bruce Zimmermann, who’s on the 60-day injured list because of a sprained right ankle, has been with the team, and Hyde said he still hopes he can get a start or two at the end of the season.