Lakeland, Fla. — Shane Greene, whom the Tigers hope can help offset the loss of Rick Porcello or even possibly upgrade the back end of the starting rotation, is an intriguing blend of brash and bashfulness.
Asked about preparing for his first spring training with the Tigers on Tuesday he said, "It's a locker room with a baseball team in it. Just like I've been doing my whole life."
Then he will point to his neighboring locker mates — David Price and Justin Verlander — and say, "I am going to soak up everything from those guys and learn a bunch. I am going to be a student of the game and just try to win."
When asked about feeling added pressure because of the departures of Porcello and Max Scherzer, Greene went back to brash mode.
"I don't want to be the next Rick Porcello," he said. "I want to be the first Shane Greene. I've been like that my whole life. That's how I was raised."
That's perfectly OK by the Tigers, who project Greene as a harder-throwing version of Porcello. Both make their money with hard, sinking fastballs and, in Greene's case, a wicked swing-and-miss slider.
The Tigers acquired him in a three-team deal last December, sending left-hander Robbie Ray to Arizona. Greene was 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.398 WHIP in 15 games (14 starts) as a rookie with the Yankees last season, including two strong outings against the Tigers.
He said a couple of the Tigers have told him how glad they were to have him on their team so he could no longer torment them at the plate, but in the next breath said, "I'm like the new kid at the high school. I'm not eating lunch by myself, but I am still trying to get to know everybody."
Brash and bashful.
This is the first time he's come to spring training as a penciled-in member of the rotation.
"It's humbling, for sure," he said. "To have the opportunity to at least fight for that spot is something I've dreamed of. I am going to be here every day working my tail off to make that come true."