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In a very dismal offseason, Khalil Greene stole the show. The once proclaimed offensive stud was on his way to St. Louis to be the starting shortstop.
The Cards invested two minor-league pitching prospects and $6.5 million to the guy that would become the franchise’s fourth Opening Day starting shortstop in six seasons. He appeared to be the answer at that position as he brought a good bat and plus fielding.
He did have a bad 2008 that had some fans scratching their heads, but apparently it was all due to his self-inflicted hand fracture he suffered after the whole punching incident. Well no problem then, right? Just an injury that resulted in an “off” year?
It did seem that way in Spring Training when Greene batted .408 with 17 RBI in 71 at bats. The most promising stat was his mere four strike outs in spring…a stat that plagued him in ’08.
However, Greene says, “It’s a different set of circumstances in Spring Training.” Apparently so, because Green is currently batting at a .208 clip with two home runs, 14 RBI, 13 runs, and two stolen bases.
Cardinals’ management is now starting to realize why Greene has struggled the past couple years. When we first learned about Greene’s anxiety problem, we just thought it was the same thing Zach Greinke and Dontrelle Willis went through. To my knowledge this is not even close.
With Khalil’s issue, he is making a very difficult game nearly impossible.
He explains, “It’s not the most enjoyable aspect of this. It’s about trying to find a balance, about not being too hard on myself and being able to naturally let it go.”
Including tonight, Khalil has only started in two games in as many weeks. However, with Tyler Greene’s demotion, most figured Khalil would get more opportunities in an attempt to find his hitting stroke.
It was also considered that Khalil may get increased time due to the recent Boston trade rumor involving Greene. With more at bats, the Cardinals may have hoped value would be increased a touch.
While it may have seemed that why, La Russa says that may not be the case.
“We’re trying to take some things off him for awhile. He’ll play. He may start here or there. We’ll see how it goes. But we’ve decided to give him an opportunity to step back a little.”
While there has been no public clarification of actual problem, Greene has recently admitted to “self-abuse”. He says that he has had the same issue since childhood, but it has increased over the past few years.
Unfortunately, the public is now starting to realize how serious and scary Greene’s issue actually is.
This is an excerpt from the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.
Teammates noticed Greene punishing himself during the season’s first road trip. When one Cardinal player approached Greene in the Wrigley Field dugout to ask what he was doing, Greene responded of his frustration, “It’s the only way I can get it out.”
Last weekend Greene left PNC Park in Pittsburgh with one hand bleeding. He had not sought treatment from the team’s training staff. One person in uniform described Greene’s struggle as “scary”.
Umm…no doubt about that one. I have read this over and over, I have asked others, but it is what it is. According to this, if this is true, it appears Khalil Greene cuts himself to relieve stress.
The only good thing about this is Khalil knows he needs to fix the problem. He is not denying it what-so-ever.
“I just think being able to sit back and try to look at myself in the third person may allow me to do that,” Greene said. “What can I do in a situation to be a more productive player physically and emotionally? I don’t know if there ever comes a time when that aspect of it is not going to be there for me. I think it’s about being able to find a more consistent coping mechanism or a healthier outlet to deal with things.”
The entire team clearly knows about it, too. Just look at their reaction to anything good that comes out of Greene’s play. They act like he just crushed a game-winning grand slam. But do not get me wrong, I have no problem with that.
Lately, Pujols has shown some real concern for Khalil’s game and has, in a way, taken Greene under his wing. Before the games, you can find Greene out there with Pujols trying to figure out what is wrong with his bat.
“I haven’t talked to him about what he’s going through, but I think I can help him with what he’s dealing with in the box,” Pujols said. “Khalil’s got a lot of ability. I know he’s more than a .240 or .250 hitter. If there’s something I can do to help and he wants it, I want to help. He’s a good guy. He’s here to help us win.”
I see where Pujols is coming from, but Greene’s issue extends far from the box. There comes a point where you have to worry about a dude’s life over his game.
If I was John Mozeliak, I would make it my mission to find Greene some help before something bad happens. Send him to AAA, let him feast on lower-level pitching. Maybe it will help.
Get better, my man.