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Green's your man in a pinch

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  August 28, 2009 06:04 PM

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The last thing Nick Green was going to do today was throw. He was that sore.

He could play if the Sox needed him.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “100 percent.”

In fact, he could play practically wherever the Sox needed him, something he proved when the most-of-the-time infielder and sometimes outfielder took the mound for two innings in a 9-5 loss to the White Sox.

Down 9-0 after just four innings, the Sox had essentially waved the white flag. What they didn’t want to do was use pitchers when the didn’t have to.

“Losing’s bad,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “Screwing up your bullpen’s worse.”

“It was a situation last night where it was basically needed,” Green said. “I needed to do it that’s why I did it.”

Green tried a couple different ways to prepare himself before going in. He even got a little advice from Sox newcomer Billy Wagner.

“Wagner tried to show me a cutter right before I went out there,” Green said. “I’m like I’m not going to try to throw that.”

He threw a four-seam fast ball, a two-seam fastball and one slider. But ironically, because of the way he throws the ball, more often than not, when you looked at the checked the scoreboard for the pitch it was rung up as a cutter.

Green was the last person trying to watch the scoreboard for his pitches.

“I didn’t look right off the bat, because I didn’t want to turn around and look,” Green said. “I told Billy, I’m just hoping I go out there and the first pitch says 80.”

The radar gun rung him up in the 90s. He threw two scoreless innings with three walks as the only thing that really bugged him (“I know how it is when you’re an infielder.”).

The numbers might be on his side, but Francona hopes he doesn’t have to use Green on the mound in the future.

“He’s not scheduled for a side session,” Francona joked. “And from previous experience, I bet you there’s one side of his rear end that’s pretty sore today.”

Overall, all he had was praise for Green, considering the utility man’s versatility saved him valuable pitchers.

“He did a great job last night. It’s not something that we’re certainly shooting for very often. But because of his ability to do that, we go into today’s game, not having our bullpen having to reach for more.''

With last night’s outing on the mound, Green has now played all but one position: catcher. And it’s not like that thought hasn’t crossed his mind.

“I would like to, but that’s a tough situation,” he said. “I catch guys between innings. I feel like I could do it if I had to.”

And apparently, Francona has at least considered the idea as well.

“Tito asked me if I could do it if somebody broke their leg or something,” Green said. “So I know I could get back there. I don’t know how good I’d be but I’d try.”

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