|Zach Green, image- Jay Floyd|
Last week I sat down with Green, the Phillies' 3rd round draft pick from 2012, about his efforts this year, being healthy, what he's been working on and more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-You look really comfortable out there this season. That could come with being healthy, but I'm just going by your look out there in the box. Talk about your comfort level out there and your experiences thus far in the Eastern League this year.
Yeah, I mean I think comfortable can be a very relative term, but yeah, a hundred percent. I feel like I'm having a good time out here, like you said healthy, being able to be on the field and work on things and I feel like that goes with the confidence. And, yeah, I'm able to put in the work day in and day out and that's what translates to the field and a hundred percent I'm confident with that.
-I feel like people that have watched you on your climb to this level have seen glimpses of the parts of your game that would be appealing to scouts, writers and such. Maybe with the health concerns that wasn't able to be fully put on display for a lengthy stretch. How do you feel about those bumps in the road and being able to now fully shine?
I mean, definitely not the best hand dealt as far as injuries go, but at the end of the day you can't make up for lost time. You just have to take advantage of the time you have now. You know, that's kind of the mindset I try to take to the field everyday. Wake up with very good awareness of what I need to work on and just get after it and good things should happen. That's it. You can't make up for lost time. You just have to take advantage of the time you have now.
-With the injuries and time on the shelf, was there ever a low point when you were really discouraged that, comparatively, it feels great to have bounced back from?
Definitely. In 2016, when I have two surgeries in the off-season, that was a low point for me. But, it came down to thinking, "Do I still want to play in the big leagues or not?" And I still did, so I knew that I had to go about (my recovery) positively and get after it.
-What were those two ailments that you had procedures for?
Elbow and hip surgery.
-What have you worked on this year? Are there any changes in your approach at the plate? Have the coaches given you specific things to improve on?
Yeah, not too much different. Just little things, day to day.. Controlling the strike zone is a big thing the Phillies-- they want. Which is good, you get on base, you win more games. But, I think right now it's just doing damage to the fastball I should. That's just a little tiny thing I'm working on right now. But other than that, controlling swinging at bad pitches, pitches I shouldn't be swinging at and taking walks when I need to take 'em.
-I'm thinking forward to about six weeks from now, the EL All-Star Game is coming to Trenton and, with your good numbers, you could be back for that event. It seems like Reading is always represented well in that game and there's several of you on this team having good seasons. You, Malquin Canelo's standing out, Deivi Grullon is hitting great. Have you given any thought to being an All-Star this year?
Yeah, last night my host parents from (when I played in) Lakewood were at the game, they live over in New Egypt, and they said, "Hey, you're having a good season. We might be able to see you at the All-Star Game!" So, that was kind of like-- you know about it, but you don't think about it, but that was one of those things where I realize if I have another productive month, it's definitely a possibility. And that would be a really cool thing, only an hour (and a half) from Reading.
But, yeah, Deivi's a really good catcher and hitting wise he's having a great season. Malquin's just great defensively, I mean, we definitely should have some ballers there this year.
-We talked last year after you got to this level and I wonder in your time here who was helped you the most to make progress and become a better player?
I really like Riggsy (hitting coach Kevin Riggs). I think he's got a lot of good stuff. You know, if you come to him, he's usually on the same page with people. One of the things I've tried to do this season is have a lot better awareness of what the pitcher is trying to do. Not just go up there like a chicken with its head cut of and just hunt, "Fastball! Fastball! Fastball!" And I think he's good with that, so I think me and Riggsy talking about what's the pitcher trying to do? Is it a good time to look off-speed here. Those kind of things that you see at the big league level, he's really good to talk to about.
-Mitch Walding got promoted to the big leagues recently. One year ago, he's in this league, in this park, playing this corner spot, representing this team in the All-Star Game. There are all things that you're doing or will be doing in July, potentially. Does that excite you when you see that and can realize how truly close you are to making that big league dream come true?
Yeah, I mean, I remember texting him last year when I was rehabbing and he was struggling. Just talking 'cause we're pretty good friends. It's one hundred percent encouraging and I'm happy for him. I think I set my alarm for 10 o'clock yesterday and checked my phone, saw that he got called up, called him at 10:02 and I caught him right before he got on the plane. That was awesome. It was definitely a big day for him and his family. We played for a while and we grinded through a lot of stuff, so it was a good moment for him.