Zach Green (Jesuit High School) didn’t listen to his body. He just figured he would play through the discomfort and it eventually would go away. But the pain didn’t go away.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ third-round selection in the 2012 draft wasn’t 100 percent when he reported to spring training. Two weeks into the Class-A South Atlantic League season, the Lakewood third baseman couldn’t feel or move his leg.
The 20-year-old knew he had to do something. He had to rest.
“It was a sciatic nerve in my lower back and my glute,” Green told MiLB.com. “The rest really helped. Everyone has something that is wrong with them. You never play a game where your whole body is good. I felt it through spring training but kept getting through it. Then it just went out, and my leg wasn’t working.”
Green was batting .186 when he went on the disabled list on April 15 because of the lower-back injury, 15 games into the season.
Now healthy after a seven-week rehabilitation stint in Clearwater, Fla., the Phillies’ No. 14 prospect is making up for lost time.
Seven days ago, Green slammed two homers and drove in four runs in Lakewood’s 10-5 victory over West Virginia. The two-homer game was the fourth in Green’s short 21/2-year minor-league career.
“I was looking for a pitch down the middle, a fastball, and he gave it to me,” Green said of his first homer. “I’m always looking for a fastball. I had a pretty good idea it was gone. The second homer, he threw me a first-pitch slider, then he came back with a fastball inside, and I turned on it pretty well.”
In 2013, Green was an All-Star for Williamsport in the Short-Season A New York-Penn League, hitting 13 home runs and 20 doubles with a .344 OBP and an .822 OPS. However, he struck out 91 times in just 270 at-bats. That rate must plummet for him to remain a top prospect.
• Fresno catcher Andrew Susac (Jesuit) and Oklahoma City catcher Max Stassi (Yuba City) were named Pacific Coast League reserves for the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16 in Durham, N.C., against the International League.
• Jupiter right-hander Scott Lyman (UC Davis) and Dunedin catcher Derrick Chung (Sacramento State), now with New Hampshire, made the Florida State League All-Star team. The game was June 14 in Bradenton, Fla.
• Rowland Office (McClatchy) is the only player in major-league history with his first or last name. In 1972, the 19-year-old was the youngest player in the National League. In 1976, he had a 29-game hitting streak. In the 35 games before the streak, his batting average was .207. He finished the season at .281.
• When Greg Vaughn (Kennedy, Sacramento City) arrived in Cincinnati in 1999 after being traded by San Diego, he caused a controversy with Reds ownership over its policy of no facial hair. Vaughn styled a goatee that he wanted to keep. Fans urged owner Marge Schott to lift the policy that had been in place since 1967. She did.
• Tony Torcato (Woodland), the Giants’ first-round pick in 1998, is still taking his cuts. The former major leaguer – he played sparingly for San Francisco from 2002 to 2005 – is playing independent ball. Torcato, 34, holds down first base for the Pittsburg Mettle of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Before Torcato played pro ball, he was an amateur boxer and at age 14 was the 1994 California Golden Gloves boxing champion. He boxed until he was 16, when he decided that hitting a baseball was better than being hit.
• Sports agent Scott Boras (Elk Grove) said the best financial advice he ever got came from his labor law professor, who said: “Business and money don’t breed warm feelings. Ninety-five percent of what people say about you is going to be negative. And remember, that means that you are doing a good job.”
• In 1945, Joe Marty (Christian Brothers) was stationed at Hamilton Field in Novato and played for the Hamilton Field Fliers with 1942 American League MVP and former Sacramento Solon Joe Gordon. Marty then left for the Pacific, touring advanced military bases and playing exhibition games with the 58th Wing alongside Enos Slaughter and Gordon. Marty was at the American base on the island of Tinian, east of the Philippines, when the atomic bomb was loaded on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.
• On June 8, 2004, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins (Cordova) became the eighth player in major-league history to strike out six times in a game.
• In 1981 with Triple-A Denver, Ted Wilborn (McClatchy) played in the outfield alongside Don Mattingly and Willie McGee. Wilborn scored a league-leading 106 runs that year, hit .295 with 21 doubles and 12 triples, drove in 85 runs and stole 43 bases in his best year in professional ball. He even played 26 games at second base without embarrassing himself.
Mark McDermott is a freelance writer specializing in Sacramento-area baseball. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.