Green Sees Blue: Nick’s Route To Royals

Wilmington Blue Rocks pitcher Nick Green never thought he’d ever be playing professional baseball. Yet the left-handed reliever has worked his way up to High-A in his second season currently posting a 2-1 record in 15 appearances going 2-3 in saves while striking out 19.

Growing up in Utah, Green started playing baseball when he was seven years old.

“There was a little league field right by my house which was really nice. My dad eventually became the president of that,” Green said. “I was never good starting out and they would put me in the outfield a lot.”

Green followed the traditional baseball path playing in surrounding states and playing high school ball but still didn’t think that he would be able to continue his baseball career. But as fate would have it, he caught the attention of the University of Utah.

“I didn’t really get recruited at all out of high school. A really good friend of mine from high school got recruited to go to Utah and I was already kind of looking at Utah for school and wanted to keep playing baseball,” Green said. “I talked to the coach a little bit and he ended up coming to watch me and ended up giving me a preferred walk-on spot.”

The University of Utah Utes’ home field is Smith’s Ballpark also known as the home of the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Green said that playing there gave everyone on the team a taste of what pro baseball would be like.

“It’s a pretty nice field to play on. Already playing at nice facilities in college kind of gave me an introduction to pro baseball in a way,” Green said. “Not really in terms of the amount of fans or anything like that but nice facilities and going to the field every day.”

He added that he loved Utah and has enjoyed seeing fellow teammates go pro too.

“The athletic community is so close-knit. It was such a great experience and I’m glad I went to college for four years,” Green said. “I just had really good teammates. Our team was always really close and did a lot of stuff together. And the first two years I played with C.J. Cron who is now with the Angels. That was always really cool watching him hit homeruns.”

Green became the Utes closer and earned awards like becoming Utah’s first-ever Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. Leading up to draft day, Green said he was anxious and nervous.

“I had an idea that I was going to be drafted but I didn’t think I would go in the top ten round. Then I got a call in the eighth round saying I might be drafted soon. Up until that point, I thought I was going to go on the third day,” Green said. “It feels like the longest day ever because you’re just waiting for you name to be called and just sit around the computer or TV with your family.”

The Kansas City Royals called his name in the tenth round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

“I was hanging out with my dad and got a call from the Royals moments before the ninth round saying they would pick me soon. In the tenth I got a call and heard my name announced on TV,” Green said. “It was really cool. My dad even got a little teary-eyed. Going into my freshman year of college, I never thought I’d be playing professional baseball.”

Green was assigned to Rookie Short-Season Idaho Falls for his first pro season.

“I think I started out really well and I’m not used to playing 140 games of baseball with college and professional together so I got a little tired towards the end but it’s all part of the game.”

Nick Green tossing for the Chukars in 2014. (Jarah Wright)

Nick Green tossing for the Chukars in 2014. (Jarah Wright)

Green said he has put in the extra work this off-season which has prepared him for 2015 and he’s looking forward to see what the rest of the season will bring.

“I actually went down early (to spring training) with Parker Morin and we worked out at the facility which kind of helped me in getting used to the facilities and I had a good spring training,” Green said. “This season, I’m just giving it my all. You never know what’s going to happen so work hard and leave everything on the field if you can.”

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