“I did my last baseball camp in Cincinnati, and that was a huge success,” Greene said. “I look forward to continuing to do that and to be able to have kids come to the game. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of guys that will come out (Saturday). I just saw one of our Notre Dame players out there on the field. For them to see it up close, for kids to know that it’s obtainable and to actually see it ... the closer they are to the players, I think the more they’ll realize that they can actually do it.”
Greene’s road to the big leagues was a long one. The Reds selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. There was no minor league season in 2020 because of the pandemic, and Greene was limited to pitching at the Reds’ alternate training site in Mason. Last year, he hoped to pitch in the big leagues for the first time but settled for his first promotion to Triple-A.
Greene made the big-league roster this spring and prepared for the hype of his first start by shutting down his phone for two days before his appearance. He planned to do the same before this start so he can stay present and stay in the moment, knowing there will be even more distractions in his hometown.
“That’s like the most important thing for me here at home,” Greene said. “I want to take it all in. Yes, it’s an exciting time. But the most important thing is my game on Saturday and being able to get a win for my team and putting my team in the best position possible for that win. That’s where my mind’s at.
“I’ll enjoy my family time away from the game, but my immediate family knows where my head is at and what my focus is. They’ve always been very understanding of that, which is a blessing because I know a lot of players and just people in general, their families aren’t able to really keep that in perspective and to understand that. They get on the hype train, and they want to go out and party and do all these crazy things. They don’t understand the importance of what’s at hand and the present moment, the focus. My family has been been great about that and has kept me pretty locked in.”
Greene will pitch one day after Jackie Robinson Day. Every year, Major League Baseball celebrates Robinson’s big-league debut on April 15. Players wear No. 42 to honor Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
Asked about Robinson’s legacy means to him, Greene said, “What he endured as a player and as a man, it’s unbelievable to see the grace that he played with every day on the field, the amazing teammate he was. I always get emotional talking about Jackie. To be here at Dodger Stadium and to be here for the 75th anniversary is pretty special. I miss Jackie Robinson Day by one day on pitching, so kind of bummed about that, but I’m sure one of my starts will fall on Jackie Robinson Day down the line. To be out here as a black player and as a young man, to represent him and what he stood for is super important.”