The 31-year-old returned to the major leagues for one at-bat in October, more than seven years after he was beaned in his debut. He agreed to a minor league contract with the Orioles and will have a chance to earn a job at their Triple-A farm team in Norfolk, Va.
“To get the opportunity with the Orioles means everything to me,” he said Saturday.
He had contacted Baltimore manager Buck Showalter at the winter meetings this month in Nashville, Tenn.
“I’m going to spring (training) with the opportunity to make the Triple-A squad,” he said. “Being 31, they said I’m not going to be going to Double-A and taking away a prospect’s spot. It’s Triple-A, big leagues _ obviously I’m not going to make the big league team out of camp _ it’s Triple-A, big leagues or nothing, and that’s great.”
Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the ninth round of the 2002 amateur draft, Greenberg made his big league debut as a pinch hitter on July 9, 2005, and was hit on the back of his head with the first pitch from the Marlins’ Valerio de los Santos. Greenberg sustained a concussion and was removed for a pinch runner.
Released by the Cubs in June 2006, he had minor league stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals, the speedy outfielder signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds and was cut at the end of spring training, hampered by a rotator cuff injury. He spent 2009, `10 and `11 with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.
After a petition on Change.org urged a big league team to give him another chance, the Marlins signed him and sent him up as a pinch hitter on Oct. 2 against New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Greenberg struck out on three pitches against the eventual NL Cy Young Award winner.
“The last few years have been very, very difficult and challenging, but I got myself physically where I need to be and more important than anything, mentally I’m at a point in my career where I’m able to commit 110 percent back to the game,” he said.
His agreement was reported by several media outlets on Thursday.
NOTES: Baltimore assigned OF Steve Pearce outright to Norfolk on Friday.