For Tigers' top pick Riley Greene, great times keep rolling in spring training
Lakeland, Fla. — Riley Greene just keeps piling up incredible moments. And he’s just 19, technically still in Low-A ball and in minor league mini-camp.
“Pretty fun to watch,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Greene, the Tigers' first-round pick (fifth overall) last year, was invited to play in his second Grapefruit League game Tuesday. He was sent in to pinch-run in the fifth inning and scored ahead of Miguel Cabrera, who hit a three-run home run.
So there he was, waiting at home plate to high-five one of the best hitters ever to play the game.
“My dad texted me and he said, ‘Dude, I just took a video of Miggy’s homer and you high-fiving him at the plate,’” Greene said. “Awesome. I’ll probably keep that video forever.”
Wait, there’s more.
Greene, who walked twice and homered in his spring debut Sunday in Bradenton, walked and hit another home run on Tuesday.
“I told some of the guys, that’s it, I’m done,” Greene said, laughing. “Just kidding. I’m not done. Don’t put that out there. I’m out there with guys who are older than me, guys I watched on TV when I was 15. It’s just awesome being here.
“Even if I didn’t play, I’d be having a great time.”
Greene, a left-handed hitter, hit his home run off Mets lefty Kevin Smith.
“You saw my first swing, right?” he said. “It was probably the worst swing of my life. I heard somebody sitting behind me say some stuff and I was like, ‘Oh, man, I have to do something here.’ He threw me a curveball and I think I fouled it off. I said no way is he going to throw another curve. So I sat on the fastball and I hit it.”
Easy game, huh?
The icing on this particular cake was that he got to see one of his boyhood idols smack a home run — Tim Tebow, who Greene cheered for when he quarterbacked the Florida Gators.
“You know I committed to Florida, too (before he signed with the Tigers),” Greene said. “That was cool to see.”