A short stopover
At first glance, Khalil Greene doesn't look the part of star shortstop. His uniform is baggy, not form-fitting; his blond hair is flowing, not close-cropped.
But hit a ball to his right, and suddenly the stars don't look the part. Greene pounces, and in one motion -- not a plant and throw, not a corkscrew; in fact, no discernible windup -- he slings the ball across his body to first base, where it easily beats even the faster runners.
"Yeah, I've seen players who can do that," Portland Beavers manager Rick Sweet said. "Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel. Only the great ones. If this guy were in the big leagues, he'd be on ESPN every night."
Greene, drafted last year and called up to Triple A Portland last week, might be returning to Double A soon because of a roster domino effect, but he has proven he can handle Triple A and is very much in the plans of the San Diego Padres for 2004.
"He has tremendous instincts; he can really flat play shortstop," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. "And the offense is just a plus."
Not bad for a guy who was drafted on offensive potential and has had to fight to convince people he can play shortstop.
Greene had a Wiffle bat in his hands at age 2 and has no memory of not playing ball. He grew up in baseball-crazed and Cuban-influenced Key West, Fla., and also took up soccer at age 5, which helped with balance and coordination, his father said.
"I look at him and I know he didn't get it from me," his father, Jim Greene, said.
Jim and Janet Greene are of the Baha'i faith and gave their son the name Khalil, which means "friend of God." His middle name, Thabit, means "steadfast."
"If he could live up to his name, that'd be real good," Jim Greene said.
Khalil was certainly steadfast in his GREENE D6
©Copyright 2003, The Oregonian (OR, USA)
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