Greene unveils pair of new pitches in spring debut

Reds flamethrower looking to add more length to his starts in '24

February 25th, 2024

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Sunday's spring debut vs. the Angels gave Reds starting pitcher a chance to take two of his new pitches out for a spin against hitters in game situations.

Greene added a curveball and split-finger fastball to his repertoire in the offseason to go with his four-seam fastball and slider. He used all four pitches during his 1 2/3 innings in Cincinnati's 9-4 win at Goodyear Ballpark.

“Pretty good. I tried to keep it simple," Greene said. "I feel like I had a good feel for everything. Curveball was a little iffy, but as far as spring I will continue to work on it.”

Greene was scheduled to throw two full innings but exited a batter early because he reached his pitch limit. A long Angels first inning featured two walks, but also three strikeouts from the right-hander.

Overall, Greene gave up one hit with two walks and four strikeouts. Against first batter Nelson Rada, he threw his curveball in a full count and allowed a walk. He was happier with his split-fingered pitch.

“The split was fantastic today," said Greene, who was 4-7 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.42 WHIP last season. "It was unbelievable. So it’s just continuing to work on it and get it ready for Opening Day and the rest of the season.”

Greene appears likely to abandon his changeup, which he used sparingly last season, in favor of the split-finger. He's looking for a pitch that can induce early-count contact.

“For me, it’s more about what he can throw for a strike as opposed to what action it is or whatever," pitching coach Derek Johnson said last week. "But I do like both of them. I think for now we’ll just try to figure out which one he can throw for a strike the most.”

In 46 starts over his two big league seasons, Greene is 9-20 with a 4.62 ERA and he has often dealt with injuries, inconsistency and a lack of pitch efficiency. In 2023, he missed two months with a right hip injury and only two of his 22 starts saw him complete seven innings.

Besides adding pitches, Greene also dedicated himself to building his endurance and strength over the winter, which included more running.

The Reds would love to see the 24-year-old Greene -- and all of their starters -- go the distance for an entire season without injuries or declines in performance. Sometimes, as manager David Bell noted, it's easier said than done.

“It’s a grind," Bell said. "When you’re young and haven’t done it, experiencing it for the first time is going to be extremely valuable. We’re excited to see what it looks like at the end of a full season for all of our starters, Hunter included.”

Greene, who frequently reached 100 pitches by the sixth inning last season, understands that pitch efficiency is also important to going deeper into games.

“All that comes together, especially when you’re playing a full season," Greene said. "I’m trying to get to that seventh inning, eighth inning, ninth inning. I want some complete games this year. All those [pitches] need to be ready to go. Obviously we’re facing the best hitters. I’m just as competitive with all my stuff as those guys are at getting their swings off.”