Since it was an afternoon game, Stevenson Ranch product Hunter Greene only had to wait till 4 on Sunday to make his professional pitching debut for the Billings Mustangs.
It’s unclear if he could’ve waited much longer.
“I’ve been itching to compete since I’ve been in Montana,” Greene told The Signal via Twitter.
The tall right-hander finally took the mound at Dehler Park in Billings, Montana, amid sunny, 90-degree weather and 3,000 fans intent on seeing the No. 2 overall draft pick chuck heat three months after the Reds took him.
Greene averaged 100 mph on his fastballs, his pitching coach told MiLB.com, and he worked around a leadoff single to keep the Helena Brewers off the board in his only inning of work.
Greene struck out one and threw strikes on 12 of his 15 pitches.
“Felt great,” Greene said. “I didn’t think my first three pitches were over 100 mph because it just felt too easy, but it was great pitching to a sold-out crowd.”
Greene’s debut didn’t come until Sunday, he said, because the Reds organization made him start his throwing program from scratch as if it were December and he was preparing for March.
“I had to be patient and just go through the process building up for my debut,” Greene said.
In the meantime, Greene served as the Mustangs’ designated hitter. According to the team’s official website, he is 7-for-30 at the plate (.233) with three extra base hits and three RBIs.
When the Reds selected Greene this summer, they left the door open to the Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks graduate playing the field, but also signaled that pitching would be the focus.
As a prep sensation, Greene hit 102 mph on the radar gun and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Considerable buzz surrounded his pro pitching debut, too.
“Getting the standing ovation made me feel great,” Greene said.
Billings pitching coach Seth Etherton told MiLB.com, “He was dominant. I think all [of the pitches] were at the knees. His ability to repeat his delivery and direction downhill, it was very impressive for a young man of his age. He’s very poised, very competitive and he’s fun to watch.”
Greene said he expects to be with the Mustangs for the rest of their season, which could end on Sept. 9, and then pitch in instructional league in Arizona.
“Then I go to my new home in Vegas,” said Greene, who moved a month ago.
Greene’s family still lives in Stevenson Ranch.