Hunter Greene hasn’t pitched in a game since July of 2018. He last threw a pitch off of a mound in late March of 2019 in Goodyear during spring training. The Reds top prospect wound up injured again after his last performance this spring and had Tommy John surgery in early April. Just under five months later the 19-year-old threw a baseball again for the first time since the injury.

After having surgery there’s a lot of stuff that takes place in the rehab process before throwing, even lightly, ever enters the picture. But it’s a big day in the process when you can begin throwing again. Even if it’s just from a mental standpoint, it’s big. It’s, of course, just the first step in throwing. There will be months and months of working from light tossing to long tossing to “pitching” on flat ground to pitching off of the mound to really just letting it go on the mound.

For Hunter Greene he’s reached that first step. And there is almost certainly another 8+ months to go before he’s ready to get back on the mound in games and let it go. Most guys don’t return to games for 14-15 months after their surgery. And for the Reds it makes more sense to take their time and be sure he’s fully healthy and ready to return to the mound. There is no need, or reason at all to try and rush him back.

28 Responses

  1. Billy

    I’m surprised he’s throwing already. Is this a normal timetable? Any idea what dictates when a guy is ready to start throwing after TJ surgery? I don’t want him to rush back. At the same time, being able to recover quickly from injury is better than not, if one is truly recovered.

  2. steven haven

    off topic but why don’t the reds try Lorenzen at CF full time? Senzel could move to 2b, I remember him being a two way guy at fullerton, he hit well there as well. I feel like its a move that’s there that they will never do.

    • MK

      I would think the biggest reason is they do not want to lose his pitching arm.

    • Doug Gray

      Because he’s probably not good enough. Pitchers still don’t pitch him entirely like an every day guy. He’s never had his weaknesses as a hitter exposed, and well, if you look at his career, he’s Jose Peraza like in that he rarely walks, but he’s also very non-Jose Peraza like in that he strikes out a ton. He’s drawn four walks in his entire career and they’ve come in the last two years. We’re dealing with small sample sizes here, and maybe with more time you could see improvements, but he’s been a non-hitter for 6 years now. You’d have to send him to Double-A or Triple-A for at least half a season to see what happens.And at that point, as MK says, you’d lose him as a pitcher and they don’t think that’s worth it.

      The time to figure this all out was 2013-2015. And they decided then that as a pitcher he was better than as a fielder/hitter. Whether they were right or wrong about that we’ll never know. But the chances he goes out and is given the chance to be a guy who can play center and pitch? Those days are long gone. Maybe if the NL gets a DH he can get 150 at-bats in a season. Otherwise you’re just going to see him be the guy he’s been the last two seasons – occasional pinch hit chances, and pitch.

      • Haven

        I don’t think it’s long gone they may not do it but rick ankiel did it at 28 so the age isn’t a problem but I understand the point.

      • Doug Gray

        Rick Ankiel spent several seasons in the minor leagues hitting after he stopped pitching. The age is a problem when it comes to the time between being a hitter every day and now. Lorenzen would need to go the Ankiel route and go to the minors and see a whole heck of a lot of pitching, every day, to get back to it.

      • Rick

        If the Reds don’t sign Jose Iglesias for two more years I’ll be greatly disappointed even on top of another disappointing Reds year. Also, Michael Lorenzen certainly must get 2-3 games a week in the field minimum. Bell admitted he messed up with Lorenzen this year. Lorenzen is a stud and would be a star already on a better organization. Also, maybe Votto will give it one more try next year and then retire and free up some resources for the Reds.

      • Doug Gray

        Hear me out: The billionaire ownership group could open up the check book and free up some resources for the Reds.

  3. MK

    When Edinson Volquez was recovering from Tommy John he got a suspension for PED use.It was of little consequence as he wasn’t going to pitch in that time frame anyway. Edinson made a faster than normal recovery and as far as I know never had elbow issues again. Wonder if other rehabbing TJ guys have tried this method of recovery.

    • Wes

      Did u not see the pitcher who died and what was in his system ? How bout Gronk since he retired ? He lost 40 lbs of muscle. Odds are there are several clever ways around league drug testing. And with today’s controlled media it’s even harder to break a story or find truth.

    • Billy

      That’s very interesting. It does seem to be a bit of a loophole that could be exploited. And why wouldn’t you? I mean, if it is illegal, you run the risk of some kind of legal trouble. But if it weren’t, why wouldn’t you want to enhance your performance (i.e., get better)? Is it not safe or something? I sort of remember a minor leaguer dying from some sort of concoction at one time, but it isn’t like there were baseball players dropping like flies in the 1990s. Other than the media-generated PR nightmare of getting caught, I’ve never really understood the downside.

      I’ve never understood why MLB took the approach to decide to punish players for trying to get better at what they do. I’ll go to my grave wondering why MLB didn’t come out in favor of performance enhancing drugs, vowing to work with players, researchers, and the government to develop safe and legal means to enhance performance. It’s not like the fan base was out there clamoring for less good players. MLB simply lost a PR battle to a media filled with reporters who didn’t want to see the records from their “golden age” erased from the history books.

      If someone wants to correct me, I’d love to hear other perspectives on the matter.

      • Doug Gray

        Because guys were using things that were proven to lead to things that were killing people. Steroids, particularly those that were being used in the 80’s and 90’s (and earlier, of course) were not the HGH of the 2000’s. Not to mention that, well, they are illegal for you to take as a non-athlete, too, unless prescribed to you by a doctor.

      • Doc

        Because they can’t expand the stadia, for one thing.

        For another, baseball is all about history, and PEDs destroy history as having any relevance.

        Unlike football, basketball, hockey, and so on, baseball is not the same in matching up offense and defense. Twenty two little people or twenty two hulks are still an even match in football, ditto the other referenced sports, and can be played on the same size playing field. Not so with baseball. No matter how huge the outfielders are, they can’t catch ‘em if they can’t get to ‘em! And pitchers bulking does not have the same defensive effect.

      • Billy

        Doug, if PEDs weren’t safe, and if they weren’t legal, those are two very good reasons why players shouldn’t have used them. Is it the case that all PEDs were proven unsafe? Maybe it is. I have no idea.
        I’ll grant that they’re illegal in the US. (Although they may not be illegal in some of the countries that many players come from.
        I don’t know about that.) Those are valid reasons to avoid PEDs, and if it were me making the decision, that would be enough for me. But I get that others might be willing to take the risk. I wouldn’t look down on them for making that decision.

        However, I still don’t understand why MLB wouldn’t have had an interest in developing safe PEDs and lobbying to have safe PEDs legalized. MLB should be in favor of better performance from its players.

        Weights are performance enhancing. Players get injured lifting weights. On a rare occasion that can be a career-threatening injury, right? Should weights be outlawed? Or what about the guy who lost his eye (and his career) when his resistance band (or something it was attached to, I don’t remember) broke? Should resistance bands be outlawed too? You could even argue that data analytics have been performance-enhancing. How would you even go about outlawing that?

        It’s ludicrous to think that MLB should be in favor of outlawing something simply because it improves performance. Sure, there are the safety and legal aspects to this story, but no one talks about the “unsafe drug crises” or the “illegal drug crisis” in the steroid era. It’s presented as a “PED crises”, which implies that the main problem is that the drugs enhanced performance. What exactly is wrong with that? The media helped make this a very black-and-white, good vs. evil story, and I still feel like the truth is far more gray in this case.

      • Doug Gray

        Obviously not all “PED’s” are illegal. Caffeine is a PED if we just assume PED is anything “drug” that enhances performance. Guys are taking all kinds of things to enhance their performance. But they are considered to be safe.

        Steroids are not safe. It’s why they are illegal for every day Joe as well as Athlete Frank.

      • Billy

        And Doc, to your point… Can you really claim that the game played today is comparable to the game played 30 years ago. I’m not saying one is better or worse. It’s just very different. Today’s game is all about the three true outcomes. Balls in play are relatively rare when compared to 30 years ago. Pitchers throw much harder. The majority of the game is focused on just the pitcher vs. the batter. Batters consistently foul off pitches intentionally so that they can get a better pitch to hit. That doesn’t even get into shifts, spin rates, and launch angles.

        I’ve long been a proponent of one of the virtues of baseball being the tradition, the history, and the statistics. Truth is, we left that game behind a long time ago. The change was gradual – the DH, AL and NL losing their autonomy, expanded playoffs, etc. – but it was real. This is baseball now, and it’s not going back.

  4. A

    Random thought, assuming that of an athlete.

    I have a family. If someone were to approach me, offer me a substance that would potentially take years off of my life, but, in turn, increase my performance and ultimately earnings potential – I would do it. Financially take care of them and their families. Without question.

  5. Bromleyjake

    I wonder if there has been any discussion about allowing Hunter to hit while rehabbing for the mound. Would getting regular at bats in a DH or PH role negatively effect his rehabilitation?

  6. MK

    Andy Pettite admitted to using a PED to recover from injury. Like any chemical used medically, it can be administered and monitored safely. Supposedly what Volquez used was also an aid to help with sperm production to help him start a family.

    • Doug Gray

      The Volquez thing is what almost every single one of these dudes that get busted for go to. Is it possible? Sure, it’s possible. But it seems really implausible that all of these athletes are having this same kind of medical problem year after year after year.

  7. Jim

    What did Greene pitch last year 70 innings? Wonder how many he pitches next year. I’d think they would limit to 100 to 130 depending in pitches thrown. Cant help but hope he comes back and pitches excellent and where does he end up? Maybe AA. Comes to ST in 2021 with no AAA experience and makes the club, but is limited to 30 extra innings over what he pitches in 2020.
    I’m hoping for a Bauer replacement. Gray, Castillo and Greene on talent is better than Gray, Castillo and Bauer. Still will need a Disco replacement and maybe that’s Lodolo.

    • Doug Gray

      If Greene pitches in a game before mid-June I’ll be shocked. I think there’s a chance he doesn’t throw more than 25 innings next year. There’s almost no chance at all he throws 100 innings next year. I’d bet large sums of money on that if someone were willing to take my bets.

  8. Martino

    I’m hoping the TJ surgery for Greene has the effect of making his FB has a bit more movement. From everything I’ve read about his great FB the knock is it has little to no movement, just a flat, but powerful pitch.
    All I know is that every time I injured my arm my pitches seemed to move a bit more even if I never rose above the level of a part time job corps pitcher throwing to part time lumber jacks in the summer of 77 in Darby Montana.. ;)