Left fielder Larry Greene Jr. was selected by the Phillies in the supplementary round of the 2011 draft (39th overall) out of Berrien County High School (GA). The 6-foot 235-pounder signed late that season and spent some time with the Florida Instructional League team. He made his official regular season debut last year with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, where he batted .272 with 22 doubles, two homers and 26 RBI in 70 games.
This season, citing concern over Greene’s weight, the Phillies kept him in extended spring training to open the season. However, the 20-year-old was added to the Class A Lakewood roster this week, as his fitness is clearly headed in the right direction.
I spoke with Larry, who is 0-for-5 with five strike outs and two walks through his first two games with the BlueClaws, on Friday about his draft process, his weight, his family and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-So, you got the call this week to join this BlueClaws club. What do you think of the facilities in Lakewood and the town here thus far?
I like it. It’s beautiful here. I mean, the whole team welcomed me with open arms. It’s a lot of my buddies and it feels good to join them.
-There’s a level of excitement this week upon news coming out that you were joining this roster from extended spring training, after this team got off to a poor start with a 3-11 record. How does it make you feel to know that there’s a fan base that’s so ready for you to join this team and add some pop to the lineup?
It feels good. It makes me feel right at home, but I mean the only thing we can do is go out there and play. And hits are gonna happen. You just gotta work every day and tomorrow’s another day.
-You were the Phils’ top draft pick a couple years ago and I think a lot of people got to see you on there, all smiles, and became instant fans of you, as one of the only players to actually go to a draft. How was that experience for you?
That was life changing. I mean, especially being the only one there and getting to meet all the hall of famers and all the ex-players and managers, all that. And Joe Torre was nice. It was good. It was just life changing, man. And now, I am living my dream.
-You mentioned ex-players being there, Mickey Morandini was there that night, representing the Phillies. He’s now your manager, here with Lakewood. What are your thoughts on Mickey as a coach?
Mickey’s great. I love Mickey to death. He just tells me every day, do your work and work hard every day and you’ll improve and catch up. He’s a good skip and I love Mickey to death.
-Last year you made your pro debut as a member of the Williamsport Crosscutters and put up solid numbers there. And their park has a reputation for being a tough park to hit in (for power). What do you think you took out of your time in Williamsport?
I mean, just playing the game. How you have to go out there every day and play every day and just staying on the grind every day. But, it was good playing in Williamsport. It was nice there. I loved it. But, now I’m here and I’m gonna keep progressing.
-I mentioned people being excited to hear that you were promoted here this week. In relation, people were also rather disappointed to learn you weren’t on the last workout group list for the team that was slated to become the opening day BlueClaws roster. Reasons for that, according to the team, were fitness related. Mickey told me (the Phillies) kept you in Florida so you could get more fit. How disappointed were you by that?
I mean, I wasn’t disappointed in the team, I was disappointed by myself, because I know I didn’t play this off-season as well as I should have. I had some trouble with weight and all that. But, now I’m good and I’m gonna keep going.
I gained ten pounds in the off-season. It’s getting better now and it just varies, but (my weight) is getting down and I’ll just work hard to keep it down.
-You mentioned your off-season there and I recall hearing that your winter was pretty remarkable in that you became a dad. You mentioned the draft being life changing. I know being a dad is life changing too. How has fatherhood impacted you?
It has impacted me a lot. Now I got my family to feed, I got my little son to feed. It changed my life, I’ll tell you that much. It was fun. I’m glad to have him here and my wife will be here. It’s good. She’s coming up here, but she’s not here yet.
-That sounds great. Now, a lot of folks haven’t gotten to see you play yet, so, if you were to scout yourself, what could you tell us?
I play the game hard, that’s the only way I know how to play it. But, I run the bases hard and if you hit, you hit, if you don’t you don’t. I think you just gotta play the game hard and that’s what I’m gonna do.