SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veterans use Spring Training to regain their timing at the plate or their arm strength. Younger players in camp strive for attention.Both groups face their share of challenges. But spring might be toughest of all on the performers in between -- players such as Grant Green, who
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veterans use Spring Training to regain their timing at the plate or their arm strength. Younger players in camp strive for attention.
Both groups face their share of challenges. But spring might be toughest of all on the performers in between -- players such as Grant Green, who have scaled the Minor League ladder but can't quite nestle into a big league perch.
Green and his ilk are typically non-roster invitees who hunger most of all for another opportunity. They want the chance to show their promise hasn't reached its expiration date. At the very least, they do what they can to convince the club's decision-makers that if injuries or ineffectiveness create a vacancy on the big league squad later in the season, they can fill it. Coping with this situation requires unshakable confidence.
As Green said Saturday, "No one's going to feel sorry for me, so I can't."
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Like Green, infielder-outfielder Kyle Blanks, infielder Conor Gillaspie, catcher George Kottaras and pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Ricky Romero are in Giants camp refusing to give up their Major League dreams. Often, these players thrived in the Majors earlier in their careers before some combination of circumstances halted their progress. They retain the memory of better days, and they're convinced they can recapture them.
"For me, there's always been that drive to rebuild and come back," the oft-injured Blanks said. "It's something I'm familiar with. So coming here I was ready to work and contribute any way I can."
Green, 28, shares that mantra. He can play all four infield positions, as well as left field. Already this spring, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has used Green at each of those spots except shortstop. Green's also batting .333 (9-for-27) in 10 games. In other words, he's being allowed to prove himself and compete for a bench role just as Giants management promised would happen.
"That's all I wanted -- to be able to showcase what I can do," Green said. "... I know I'm a big league player. I know that I'm going to play many years. It's just [a matter of] getting that stable footing with a team and getting four or five years under the belt to where everyone else sees that part of me."
As Oakland's No. 1 selection (13th overall) in the 2009 Draft, Green appeared destined to establish himself. He batted .302 in his first three Minor League seasons and a fraction of a fourth. Then the A's, seeking an experienced infielder to complement the Major League roster, traded him to the Angels for Alberto Callaspo.
"They felt that Callaspo was a better fit in the shorter term, to possibly win playoff games and a World Series," Green said.
When Green wasn't in Triple-A, he hit .280 in 40 games for the Angels late in 2013 and .273 in 43 games the following year. When the Angels traded second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers before the 2015 season, Green thought he'd receive a chance to compete for that vacancy. It didn't happen. He proceeded to play 93 games at Triple-A, compared with 21 for the Angels.
Green still believes that if he can get on the field for the Giants or any other team often enough, he'll stay there, regardless of his fluctuating career fortunes thus far.
"Everyone's path is different," he said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.