A lot of people want to see Adam Greenberg get an at bat in the bigs

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Adam Greenberg made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs in 2005. In his first trip to the plate he was hit in the head and suffered a severe, major league career-ending concussion and positional vertigo.

Though he came back and played in the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals and Angels organizations — and while he has taken his hacks in indy ball — a man named Matt Liston has started a push to get the Cubs to give Greenberg another chance at a major league at bat:

Sports activist Matt Liston, a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, has rallied more than 10,000 people who have signed a Change.org petition calling on the Cubs to give former player Adam Greenberg one more opportunity to bat in a Cubs uniform … “For anyone who’s ever dreamed of playing professional sports — Adam was there and had his dream taken from him with one pitch,” said Liston. “As a lifelong baseball fanatic, I want to see Adam get the at bat he deserved after working so hard in college and the minor leagues to pursue a career in Major League Baseball.”

I am sympathetic to the impulse, and it’s sad that Greenberg was never able to make it back.  But there are a lot of guys who never even got Greenberg’s chance. And a lot of guys who, even if given the chance, also had their careers ended by bad luck and injury.  Even if he’s never had an official at bat, he has had a plate appearance, and as everyone knows, that counts. And even if he gets one more shot, his real legacy is and always will be fighting for three years to make the bigs in the first place. Which is noble, honorable and is a far greater success than almost every other person who has played organized baseball.

I won’t mind if the Cubs give him another shot, but even though it makes me something of a killjoy, I don’t know why Greenberg should get it when no one else gets it. And I don’t know what it accomplishes.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.