Midland RockHounds shortstop Grant Green
is hoping to soon be part of a reunion of his 2005 USA Baseball National Team.
Green, who started the year with Midland after getting called up from Class A Advanced Stockton for last year's Texas League playoffs, had the fortune to play alongside three present or future Oakland Athletics on the 18-and-under USA Baseball National Team six years ago.
Green's teammates, who helped lead USA Baseball to the Junior Championship final, included current Oakland pitchers Brett Anderson and Tyson Ross and Triple-A Sacramento River Cats second baseman Adrian Cardenas.
"It's kind of surreal, the fact that off that one team there are four guys who are playing in the same organization," Green said.
The National Team tore through seven games of the Junior Championships, played mainly in Villahermosa, Mexico, before falling to Cuba in the final, 2-1, for its only loss of the tournament.
"Hopefully it shows the good youth that American baseball has, and hopefully we'll all be able to be on the same team together up in Oakland," Green said.
The players had big league dreams even then, Green said, but they didn't imagine they would wind up in the same organization.
"At that point we were just trying to survive Mexico," Green said. "Find something good to eat and don't drink the water out of the faucet. But I'm glad that happened, and it's something I'll always cherish."
After the San Diego Padres drafted Green out of Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon High School in the 14th round in 2006, he chose to go to Southern California, where, along with a stint in the wood-bat Cape Cod League, he hit well over .300.
That got the attention of the A's, who took Green 13th overall and made him the first shortstop selected in the 2009 Draft.
Green said his wood-bat performance and opposite-field hitting work with his father, Gary, and brother Garrett helped him raise his stock.
"I was lucky," Green said. "My parents and brother, ever since I was a young kid, they taught me to go the other way. A lot of these college guys with the metal bats are able to turn and burn, but with the wood bat that doesn't quite always work."
Green said he also benefited from playing under former USC coach Chad Kreuter, who spent 16 seasons as a Major League catcher. Green's infield coach was Bill Mosiello, currently managing Midland's Texas League nemesis at Arkansas.
"It was a blast," Green said. "I wouldn't have traded it for anything."
Green was known more as a fielder when he entered the college ranks but is now known more for his offense than his defense. He homered in his first at-bat of the season but has scuffled in the early going as his average dropped to a season-low .176 on April 24 before a recent hot streak helped him reach .265 with 19 RBIs entering Tuesday.
Once known for his good glove before he erupted as a hitter, Green has heard rumblings about his defense and the possibility of a position switch as he moves forward. Whatever it takes to hasten that big league reunion, Green is all for it.
"If they tell me tomorrow you play second base and by the end of the year you'll be a September call-up, then put me at second," Green said.
Warm memories: Texas League president Tom Kayser said the 15-game suspension he handed to Frisco's Engel Beltre, who tossed a trash can at heckling fans during an altercation in San Antonio on April 27, was not the longest Kayser has levied in his 18-plus seasons. That distinction goes to Arkansas' Dmitri Young and Keith Johns, who took bats into the stands after fans in Wichita and drew 28-game suspensions in 1995.
Doubling up doubleheaders: It seems the weather just doesn't want North Division rivals Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas to play. Rain washed out the last two games of their latest showdown in North Little Rock, and they will be made up as doubleheaders June 8 and June 10. The teams had to play a doubleheader because of rain in their first series in Springdale in April and, because they were unable to get a fourth game in, must also play a doubleheader in Arkansas' return visit May 23.
Arkansas, which also needs to makeup doubleheader with Tulsa later this month, has been rained out seven times this season.