There is a sense of anger, disappointment and frustration in Taylor Green's voice over the phone.
The Canadian infielder is on the road with the AAA Nashville Sounds, trying to find his game after the parent club in Milwaukee made him one of its final cuts at spring training.
Green, the Brewers' minor league player of the year in 2011, was sent back to Nashville despite the fact he outperformed several Milwaukee regulars with a .316 batting average and .395 on-base percentage in 21 pre-season games.
"It's a tough situation. You have a good spring, you have a good year before, you feel there are some open spots on the team and then the next thing you know you're going back to triple-A," said the Comox, B.C., native.
"I'm not the first guy for that to happen to, so I just have to dig in here and get back up there [to the major leagues]."
Green, 25, will be digging in a little deeper after learning on May 3 that the Brewers looked elsewhere while seeking a replacement for first baseman Mat Gamel, who could miss the balance of the season with a torn knee ligament.
Summoned from Nashville was Brooks Conrad, who lasted a few hours longer than the left-handed hitting Green at Brewers camp. The former Atlanta Braves utility player will back up Travis Ishikawa, who will fill in for Gamel after beating out Conrad and Green for a roster spot at spring training.
The switch-hitting Conrad hit .208 in 24 spring contests, but was leading Nashville in average (.400), home runs (five) and runs batted in (13) over just 15 games at the time of his promotion. Ishikawa, who his considered a plus defender at first base and can also play the outfield, hit .255 in spring training and has struggled even more in a pinch-hitting role with Milwaukee batting .172 in 29 at-bats over 16 games.
After a slow start in Nashville, Green was hitting .278 with a .363 OBP through May 2 on the strength of four multi-hit efforts over a five-game stretch. In his previous 10 starts, he hit .359 with a .919 on-base-plus slugging percentage and more walks than strikeouts.
Green wouldn't say that Brewers management was jerking him around "because they drafted me and gave me my first [big-league] opportunity."
He believes Brewers general manager Doug Melvin of Chatham, Ont., assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ron Roenicke had their mind made up long before notifying him of his release.
"They just said, 'Look, we're going in a different direction,'" Green said. "I would have understood if I had hit .250 in camp or .250 last year."
Instead, Green tore up Pacific Coast League pitching, hitting .336 with 22 home runs and 91 RBIs in 123 games split between AA Huntsville and Nashville.
Strong 1st impression
Milwaukee recalled him on Aug. 22 and he went on to hit at a .270 clip in 20 games. He also earned the team's 25th and final National League Division Series roster spot, getting the nod over the more veteran, right-handed hitting Josh Wilson.
"It's an experience I'll never, ever forget," said Green, who went hitless in two post-season at-bats in a reserve role while gaining invaluable experience by staying close to veterans Craig Counsell and Mark Kotsay on the bench and in the video room.
"It was great just to learn and feel the big pressure situations. There's not too many more pressure situations than [the playoffs] in our game. I got a feel for it and know what to expect next time."
Green, who led the Brewers organization last season in OBP (.412) and slugging (.580), thought the door to a major league job was opening a little on Jan. 26 when first baseman Prince Fielder signed with Detroit as a free agent. Five weeks earlier, Milwaukee signed veteran Aramis Ramirez to a three-year, $36-million US deal to be its third baseman, even though he isn't regarded as a strong defender.
This didn't bode well for Green, whom the Brewers selected in the 25th round out of Cypress Junior College in California in 2005. Drafted as a second baseman, he has spent most of his career at third, and even spent time at first base at spring training.
"I think the way the team was constructed this winter it kind of gave me zero openings," said Green, who appeared in seven games at second base last September with Milwaukee and five at the hot corner. "That's the nature of the business, I guess.
"It would be nice to have an opening when you play well, but you have to try to find a meaning for each game right now, make sure you bring your 'A' effort every day and realize that there's more than just one team out there."
A more determined than angered Green then hung up the phone.
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