Adam Greenberg got his chance in the majors in the top of the ninth inning in Miami on July 9, 2005, as a pinch-hitter for the Chicago Cubs. But he never really had a chance. The first pitch he saw was a 92-mph fastball from Valerio de los Santos, and he did not see it very long. It struck him just below his right ear.
"I lost control of my eyes and thought my head was split open," Greenberg said Thursday. "I kept saying, 'Stay alive,' and just repeated that. That will never leave me. But it doesn't haunt me."
Greenberg suffered vision problems and vertigo. He played 674 more games through 2011, all in the minors. But his next game will be Tuesday for the Marlins against the Mets. The Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract Thursday, an uplifting story for a team that needs one. "Life's going to throw you curveballs, or fastballs to the back of your head," Greenberg said. "It knocked me down, and I could have stayed there."
A filmmaker named Matt Liston started a campaign this year to get him one at-bat in the majors. Greenberg, 31, said no major-league team owes him anything. The Cubs had already rejected the idea of a late-season comeback. But he also defended his path.
"I got to the major leagues on my own merit," said Greenberg, who most recently played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers last week, which were held at the Marlins' spring training site.
"I earned that spot seven years ago. So the fact is, this is not just my first at-bat — it's not just, 'Oh, poor kid, let's give him a shot.' I think this speaks a lot greater to the fact that I never gave up."
Call him Snider-Man
Travis Snider of the Pirates made one of the best defensive plays in the majors this season Thursday. He went back to the right-field wall, dug his spikes into the chain-link fence, and hooked his left arm on top of the 8-foot wall.
Then the 6-foot outfielder hoisted himself up and grabbed Mike Baxter's drive for the Mets in the webbing of the glove on his right hand, maybe a good 4 feet above the wall, preserving a one-run lead. "I was blessed to grow up in Seattle, and I watched Ken Griffey Jr. do that on a regular basis," Snider said. "I remember being a kid and dreaming of doing that."
Acta out with 6 games left
The Indians fired Manager Manny Acta with six games left in the season. Acta was replaced on an interim basis by former Indians catcher Sandy Alomar. Acta compiled a record of 214-266 (.446) over his three seasons. Acta previously managed the Nationals but was fired at midseason and replaced by Jim Riggleman.
Cabrera won't be back for playoffs
The Giants won't bring back suspended star Melky Cabrera at any point this postseason.
"We have decided not to send Melky on a rehab assignment because we do not intend to add him to any playoff roster," Manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. "We had to make this decision early because Melky would have to start rehabbing in Arizona. We have decided to develop our roster from our current group of players. They've done a terrific job ... ."
Cabrera's suspension takes him through the first five games of the playoffs, so he would have been eligible in the NL championship series.