Former Evans star Todd Greene is coming off a very solid campaign as a reserve catcher for the Colorado Rockies.
While the team struggled this year, Greene had a terrific season. He hit .282 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI in just 195 at bats.
Greene also seemed to be a favorite among coaches and the pitching staff. Before a hamstring injury late in the season, he had begun alternating games with starting catcher Charles Johnson.
This, despite the fact that Johnson was being paid $9 million to Greene's modest $550,000.
When the season was over, and his one-year deal was done, the Rockies immediately informed Greene that they wanted him back in 2005.
The one stumbling block for Greene's return to Colorado was Johnson's hefty contract. The Rockies have spent a large portion of the off-season trying to unload Johnson. However, because of his salary and his diminished skills, they have had no luck.
Despite this, the Rockies offered Greene salary arbitration a few weeks ago. Greene, as expected, refused arbitration, which opened the door for the two sides to negotiate a new deal freely. Colorado has basically told Charles Johnson's agent, Scott Boras, to find his client a new team.
Colorado has even agreed to pay $8.25 million of his contract if a team will pay the remaining $750,000 and Johnson's $1 million relocation fee.
If the Rockies can't unload Johnson, then they will likely release him and eat the $9 million.
Committing to Greene last week, the Rockies have signed him to a deal, meaning he will be with the Rockies in 2005.
The plan is to have Greene serve as a backup for young catching prospect J.D. Closser.
The Rockies feel like Greene's experience and knowledge of the game will help speed up Closser's progression. Also, they feel comfortable with Greene in the lineup should Closser struggle early.
His hard work has definitely paid off. He is no longer simply a guy who can hit. He is now a savvy veteran with a reputation for working well with pitchers. And, by the way, he can still tear the cover off the ball.
No need to change
rankings just yet
Last week I did a ranking of the county's basketball teams. I picked Evans as the top team on the boys' side. I got a few e-mails from Greenbrier fans who lobbied that the Pack should be No. 1 despite an early loss to Evans.
On the girls' side the choice was certainly more clear. Greenbrier's girls team is far and away the top team in the county.
Both teams solidified their top spots in this years Holiday Tourney. The Evans boys knocked off Greenbrier in another tight game. The impressive thing about the Knights' victory was the fact that Hank McCladdie managed to score only 7 points.
The Pack will be much better when Rich Poythress returns after the new year, but for now Evans has a firm grasp on the top spot.
In the girl's title game, Greenbrier rolled, led by their two young point guards Sarah Oland (16 points) and Michelle Sweic (15, Tourney Most Valuable Player).
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