BILLINGS, Mont. — Hunter Greene says he’s a pitcher.
Earlier than the Reds drafted him No. 2 overall in June, there was talk about him being a two-way player, someone who could be either a big-league shortstop or a pitcher. The night he was drafted, Greene said he’d like to play shortstop and pitch.
After a couple of months as a professional, Greene has made his choice — and it lines up with what the Reds saw in him.
“There’s a different type of confidence when I’m at the mound, different than at the plate or shortstop,” Greene said last week, the day after his last start in the Pioneer League. “Getting on the mound is a lot easier for me. I think getting on the mound is a lot more natural, too.”
Ten games in two-and-a-half months were enough for Greene to see his future more clearly.
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Greene roomed with fellow first-rounder Jeter Downs, a shortstop and just a shortstop. He’s been able to see the work that Downs must put in every day while going through his own routine as a starting pitcher. The observation leads him to the conclusion that trying to do both at the same time isn’t conducive to be the best he could be at either spot.
“Shortstop, playing every day, I’m not even playing every day. I’m not going to lie, it’s a grind,” he said. “Obviously, having Jeter as a roommate, he’s a shortstop, he doesn’t play every day, but he plays, three, four days in a row. It’s a lot on the body, it’s definitely hard. Big kudos to the guys in the big leagues who are playing every day, it’s a lot of work on the body, the arm and the feet. It’s a lot. To be able to have rest days and recover and be able to have that day where you go out and perform and pitch at your best, it’s more comfortable for me.”
Greene appeared in seven games as a designated hitter, going 7 for 30 with a double, a triple and three RBI. He struck out eight times without walking. All seven of his games as a designated hitter came before his first start on Aug. 26.
“That was a good progression and then all of a sudden he made his first start,” Mustangs pitching coach Seth Etherton said. “Now he’s starting to get it. Now he realizes doing both may be a little too much. Right now I think he’s focused on the pitching side of things and where we…