Reds Rookie Hunter Greene: First Start At Dodger Stadium ‘Pretty Special’

The Los Angeles Dodgers extended their winning streak to four games by defeating the Cincinnati Reds on Jackie Robinson Day. Saturday’s contest between the teams — the third of a four-game series — will feature a starting pitching matchup of Julio Urías and Hunter Greene.

Urías is looking to bounce back from a disappointing Opening Day outing against the Colorado Rockies while Greene is making the second start of his MLB career. “Just super special,” the L.A. native said of getting to pitch at Dodger Stadium.

“Obviously I came here as a kid to a lot of games. I was just talking to our infield coach and first base coach about how I would sit down the third-base line, watch Rafael Furcal and the amazing player he was. Just a beautiful experience to be here and to pitch on Saturday will be pretty special.”

When Greene takes the mound at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, he will be pitching in front of family members, friends and players he grew up watching. “I don’t even know who’s going to watch me,” Greene began.

“I know my immediate family is. There’s obviously some some great past players that work here for the Dodgers and are on the field pregame and postgame. So it’ll be pretty special to pitch in front of them.

“I know a lot of people here, just being from here. There will be a lot of players and past kids that I played with, friends of mine. So just to have them here for them to see that I made it. And you know, there’s also a lot of haters out there. People that said I would never even get past high school baseball. So they’re going to see the game on Saturday, I’m sure.”

Greene, who grew up in Santa Clarita, Calif., knows there will be a lot of people following his start against the Dodgers. “Oh yeah, 100%. I shut my phone down. About a day and a half, two days leading up to Sunday’s game in Atlanta. I’ll probably shut my phone off [Friday], just to stay present in the moment,” he explained.

“That’s like the most important thing for me. I’m here at home, I want to take it all in. Yes, it’s an exciting time, but the most important thing is my game on Saturday, and being able to get a win for my team and putting putting my team in the best position possible for that. So that’s where my mind is that.

“I’ll enjoy my family time away from the game, but my immediate family knows where my head’s at, and what my focus is. And they’ve always been very understanding of that, which is a blessing because I know a lot of players and just people in general, their families are unable to really keep that in perspective and understand that.

“They get on the hype train, they want to go out and party and do all these crazy things. They don’t understand the importance of what’s at hand and the present moment and focus. So my family has been great about that.”

Greene hopes to start on Jackie Robinson Day in future

Greene’s start against the Dodgers comes one day after MLB celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. “That’s a heavy question,” Greene began when asked how he potentially could mirror Robinson’s legacy as a Black player.

“I’m starting my own legacy now. I would like to think that I’ll be here for a long time. My goal is to play 15-20 years in this game. But to touch on Jackie’s legacy, what he endured as a player, as a man, is unbelievable to see the grace that he played with every day on the field, the amazing teammate he was.

“I always get emotional talking about it. To be here at Dodger Stadium and to be here for the 75th anniversary is pretty special. I miss Jackie Robinson day by one day I’m pitching, so kind of bummed about that. But I’m sure one of my starts will fall on Jackie Robinson day down the line.

“To be out here as a Black player and as a young man, to represent him and what he stood for is super important. And to shed that light on on our community as well and to let these kids know that they can do it.

“And to do it with grace and to always be poise and just represent. It’s not just about yourself, but it’s about your family and the next generation that follows.”

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!