The Royals pitching staff got a touch younger on Monday after the team claimed right-handed pitcher Conner Greene off waivers from the Cardinals.
To make room for Greene on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated right-hander Burch Smith for assignment.
Smith, a 28-year-old who was acquired in a trade with the Mets at the Rule 5 draft, appeared in 38 games (six starts) and had a 6.92 ERA and a 1-6 record with the Royals.
Here are five things to know about the 23-year-old Greene, who has never pitched in the majors:
He’s friends with Charlie Sheen
Greene’s former coach at Santa Monica High School is a friend of actor Charlie Sheen, who has appeared in a couple of classic baseball movies (“Eight Men Out” and “Major League”).
The Globe and Mail reported that after Greene was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft, his coach set up a meeting with Sheen.
“He’s been nothing but a great person to me and a great friend,” Greene told the Globe and Mail. “I don’t care about what’s been written about him or reported. I just know what he’s done for me and how sweet he’s been to me and that’s all I care about. He’s just an amazing person.”
Greene has even appeared as an extra in Sheen’s “Anger Management” television show.
Dealing with ADHD
Greene was traded by the Blue Jays to the Cardinals in January as part of a deal that sent outfielder Randal Grichuk to Toronto.
A month later, Greene told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a change in his prescription for ADHD in 2017 negatively impacted his eating and sleeping. He said that was a factor in his 5.29 ERA at Class AA.
“But what it was, this anxiety I was getting from this medication was ridiculous,” Greene told MLB Pipeline. “Thank God I’m off of it. I pulled the trigger on that. We all thought this was something that would help me, but it didn’t. I’m never going to do it again and I feel great now. Last year, my thoughts on the mound … when the going gets tough, that’s when I used to get tougher and really focused. That’s what all great athletes have. ... It was tough for me to execute and remain in a calm focus when I was on that medication, and it would snowball and I would start making these ‘perfect’ pitches under the zone. ...
“I think I was pitching like a weeny. It’s just about attacking hitters. I was pitching scared and I didn’t believe in myself and I didn’t believe in my stuff. I do blame the medication because it was having me lose a lot of confidence. Confidence had always been a thing I was really good at. It was foolish last year, but it’s going to be OK this year.”
Move to the pen
After five seasons of pitching almost exclusively as a starter, Greene moved to the bullpen for the Cardinals’ Class AAA affiliate in Memphis in 2018. He had a 3.66 ERA in 29 games with 26 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings pitched.
Greene has touched 100 mph with his fastball.
This past summer, Green was a Texas League All-Star and the previous season he was on the Class AA Eastern League All-Star team.
Hitting, um, prowess
Greene made his first professional plate appearance last year at Class AAA Springfield. He came up with the bases loaded and went for it all.
Here’s what happened: