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Adam Greenberg to get second MLB chance

31-year-old expected to get an at-bat for Marlins vs. Mets Tuesday
10/02/2012 2:39 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
More than seven years after making his first and only Major League plate appearance, Adam Greenberg is expected to get his second tonight for the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract on Tuesday, and he is expected to make a pinch-hit appearance in Miami’s game against the Mets. Manager Ozzie Guillen had considered starting Greenberg in the outfield and batting him in the leadoff spot, but instead decided to bring the 31-year-old off the bench.

"There's a lot of stuff out there, I thought it was good idea to lead-off, but it is a little bigger deal than I thought," Guillen said before Monday's game. "We'll try to put him in the middle of the game to see that thing work."

Greenberg’s story made headlines last week, when during an appearance on NBC’s Today Show, the Marlins announced they would sign him to a one-day contract, allowing him a second chance at the Bigs after he got hit in the head in his Major League debut seven years ago.

That appearance came for the Cubs on July 9, 2005, when Greenberg was hit in the head by Marlins lefty Valerio De Los Santos on the first and only pitch he saw. Greenberg suffered from vertigo and post-concussion trauma after the incident, and although he strived to make it back to the Majors, he never ascended higher than Double-A.

"I think it's good for the kid," Guillen said. "We decided to do it and people have to respect that about what we're going to do with the kid. I think it's a positive. Obviously if we were in the pennant race or this game means something, or if the Mets were in the pennant race or somebody was competing against the Mets in the pennant race and we have to beat them, then it's different. I don’t think it's going to kill anything to get the kid an at-bat."

Mets manager Terry Collins supported the idea as well.

"I think it's a wonderful story," Collins said. "I know there's some pros and cons about why does he get the one at-bat when a lot of other guys - well he did make it. He was good enough to get there at one time. Had he not got hit in the head who knows if he wouldn't have been a star today. I think it's a great story for this guy to come up with all that he's been through to try to fight back, all of the things he's had to endure, it's going to be a great story.”

The only potential drawback for Greenberg is that his return may come against NL Cy Young Award candidate R.A. Dickey. The 20-6 knuckleballer will make his final start for the Mets on Tuesday, and Collins doesn't anticipate Dickey grooving a pitch across the plate for Greenberg to hit.

"I don’t think that's part of the deal," Collins said with a smile. "I just think it's about him saying hey I've worked so hard to get here the first time and to have it taken away from me in such a fast instant to get back in the batter's box to say I've worked hard enough to get back here again."

The campaign for Greenberg was started by filmmaker Matt Liston, a Cubs fan who received over 20,000 signatures on an online petition for Greenberg to receive one at-bat. Since Greenberg was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance, it does not count as an official Major League at-bat, and Guillen said he wants the 31-year-old to go up there swinging to make sure this one counts.

"If the kid is going to get a walk, please swing the bat 3-0, I will let you swing the bat. Make sure you don't walk,” Guillen said.

That said, Guillen also told the press that despite his pledge to play Greenberg, he won’t force his insertion into the game for integrity’s sake.

"I'm not going to pinch-hit him for the pitcher just because," Guillen said. "If I need a base hit to take the lead or something, he will be out and then I will figure out another inning. I'm going to manage my team to win the game.”

And if Greenberg does well?

"I think if the kid gets a hit in the first at-bat, he might get another one."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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