Reds prospect Hunter Greene, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft who wowed scouts with triple-digit velocity in addition to his potential as an infielder, will begin the season exclusively as a pitcher, Cincinnati director of player development Jeff Graupe tells Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter link). However, while the ballyhooed 19-year-old won’t be hitting to begin the year, the organization is not “closing the door on developing him offensively,” Graupe adds. Virtually every scouting report heading into the draft suggested that Greene’s upside on the mound was higher anyhow, though there was nonetheless some thought to developing him as a two-way player at least in the early portion of his career. Greene made three starts in Rookie ball last season and appeared in seven games as a DH.
Here’s more from the division…
- The Cardinals announced that Adam Wainwright will be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday and start the team’s game against the Diamondbacks. In a corresponding move, top prospect Jack Flaherty has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Wainwright opened the season on the shelf due to a strained left hamstring. He’ll be looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic season in which he struggled to a 5.11 ERA in 123 2/3 innings.
- Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch spoke with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM about the team’s late signing of closer Greg Holland (Twitter link, with audio). While the Cards were in touch with agent Scott Boras about Holland as far back as the GM Meetings, nothing between the two sides became serious until late in camp. “It really wasn’t until the last week or 10 days of Spring Training when it became more apparent that there might actually be a possibility of finding some common ground,” said Girsch. “…His expectations were changing, and our willingness to find someplace that we could make something happen made it so we could actually get something done.” Notably, Girsch said that Luke Gregerson’s injuries didn’t play much of a role in the decision to add Holland, as he’s not dealing with arm troubles and is only expected to be out for a few weeks. More important, it seems, was the length of the contract. Girsch notes that the Cards have some younger arms “who are future back-of-the-bullpen arms” that aren’t far from big league readiness.
- Tommy Pham chatted with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson about his rise to prominence and his ongoing battle with keratoconus — an eye disorder characterized by the progressive thinning of the cornea. Interestingly, Pham said he gives a huge amount of credit to current Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who, during his days in the Cardinals front office, was the first to set up the initial test that diagnosed Pham with his condition. “He just always believed I was too good of an athlete to struggle in this game,” said Pham. “…I hit a lot of home runs, but I struck out a lot, and Jeff thought it was my vision rather than my actual swing. … sure enough, he was right.”
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provides a host of updates on some injured Brewers (all links to Twitter). Veteran lefty Wade Miley, who signed a minor league deal last month, is playing catch but likely a month away from returning from the groin injury that sidelined him. Both Miley and lefty Boone Logan, who is dealing with a triceps injury, are hoping to begin throwing off a mound next week. Ace Jimmy Nelson, meanwhile, is hoping to throw from a mound by the end of the month. As for catcher Stephen Vogt, he hopes to throw by the end of the week after recently being cleared by doctors, but he’s still a few weeks from returning. When he does, the Brewers will have to make a call on what to do with Vogt and Jett Bandy, as both are out of minor league options and behind Manny Pina on the depth chart.