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Despite long wait, Greene's MLB debut a 'dream come true'

04/25/2014 6:12 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

A starter for much of his career, Shane Greene has made three relief appearances this season.(AP)
After two previous stints with the team that yielded zero appearances, right-hander Shane Greene finally heard New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi call his No. 39 on Thursday night.

With the Yankees up 12-2, Greene was called on to replace CC Sabathia in the seventh inning of the eventual 14-5 win, and he had an extra spring in his step as he walked through the bullpen door at Fenway Park to finally make his Major League debut.

It didn't quite go as planned -- Greene pitched just 1/3 inning, walking three of the five batters he faced and eventually being charged with three unearned runs -- but it was still perfect in the 25-year-old righty's mind.

"It was a dream come true, no question," he said Friday in the Yankees clubhouse. "I definitely had a lot of nerves going, but it was a dream come true."

So far, 2014 has been a strange year for Greene. A starter his whole career, he spent all of spring training pitching in relief, and after being one of the final camp cuts, he reported to extended spring training to get stretched back out.

That didn't last long, though, as he was called up to the Yankees for the first time on April 9, summoned to boost the bullpen one day after Ivan Nova was knocked out in the fourth inning of a start against Tampa Bay. That five-day stint came and went without an appearance, and he was optioned to Triple-A following a game on April 13 -- only to return three days later as the 26th man for a doubleheader.

Greene didn't pitch in that game and went back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre right afterward, where he finally made his "official" season debut on April 18.

After two appearances with the RailRiders, he was promoted on Thursday, and that night, a spot in the MLB record books was finally his. The moment made four weeks of myriad travel and turmoil all worth it, but Greene refused to let the situation be an excuse to not be ready if called upon.  

"Basically I've been on a baseball field every day somewhere, so I've been able to get my work in. As far as going up and down, it's been a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, but it's still the game of baseball no matter where I am."

And even though all three of Greene's appearances this season have come in a relief role, he's taken the adjustment in stride.

"I wouldn't say my mindset has changed, but it's a little bit different of a routine," he said. "I just have to be ready to pitch every single day, and I'm doing that."

No matter where he lands and what role he fills, Greene knows he's at least on the Yankees radar. He was placed on the 40-man roster last winter after a strong 2013 season -- one that won him the Kevin Lawn Award as the organization's top minor-league pitcher -- but the only thing he can do to keep improving is be himself.

"I'm trying not to put any extra pressure on myself," Greene said. "I know I need to just go out there and do my job."

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