Hunter Greene, the Cincinnati Reds’ fire-balling No. 1 draft choice in 2017, has been shut down for the remainder of the Dayton Dragons season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The Reds announced the surprise decision by Twitter late Friday afternoon.
“Right now, it’s rehab and non-surgical at this point,” said Reds General Manager Nick Krall on Friday. “We’re going to re-evaluate it as we move into the offseason. He threw a bullpen the other day and didn’t feel right.”
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Krall said Greene was examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek, the team’s medical director.
“Technically, a sprain is a partial tear,” Krall said. “We hope this does work and can lead to him being ready for next season.”
Krall said Greene will be sent to the team’s spring training facility at Goodyear, Arizona, to begin immediate rehab.
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Greene, 6 feet 4, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Notre Dame High School at Los Angeles. He began this season with the Dragons and was ineffective early. However, that changed about one month into the season. He finished with a 3-7 won/loss record and 4.48 ERA.
His best outing was in early July when he lasted seven innings, allowed just two hits and struck out 10 in a 2-1 win at Lake County. But he went just two innings against Fort Wayne at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on July 26, his last appearance. He attributed the early exit – the game was scoreless and he had struck out four – to an upset stomach related to the previous night’s dinner with his visiting family.
“I had wings last night that were really good, the sauce was really good,” Greene said afterward. “I think it just got to me. It had been bothering me since I got to the ballpark. I just tried to push through it.”
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That brief outing was long enough for him to set a stadium record of 102 mph with a pitch. The previous Fifth Third Field pitch record of 101 was shared by Greene – several times – former Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman (rehab assignment) and current Dragons reliever Aneurys Zabala when he was a Great Lakes Loon earlier this season.
Greene regularly hit triple digits in his pitching speed this season, as he did in high school and at Billings (Mont.) rookie ball after being drafted.
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That high velocity earned him a spot on Team USA in the All-Star Futures Game at National Park in Washington, D.C., against the World Futures on July 15. He continually buzzed the capacity crowd, hitting 100 mph on all 19 fastballs and averaging 102.3 mph. He lasted 1.1 innings, struck out one and allowed two hits, including a homer.