Feb. 5, 2009

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Nine Innings with Grant Green

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Junior shortstop Grant Green of USC is not only one of the top players in the Pac-10, but one of the best in the nation.


A native of Anaheim Hills, Calif., Green batted .390 a season ago with 15 doubles, nine home runs, 10 steals and 46 RBI. The All-American followed that by hitting .348 during the summer in the Cape Cod League with six homers and 21 RBI.


A stellar glove in the field, Green is a preseason All-American and is expected to be a high pick in June’s Major League Draft.


Green recently took time to answer our questions about the upcoming season.


First Inning – How do you improve on your sophomore season?
The main thing that I need to improve on from my sophomore season is to stay a little bit more consistent. I personally believe that last year, I had a few games that I did not have the right mind-set before the game, and it cost me those games. Also I think that this year I need to be more of a leader on and off the field. I know that with the success that I have been lucky to have and with the amount of freshmen on this team that I need to show them how to handle certain situations and how to handle the grind of college baseball.

Second Inning – What are your goals for the 2009 season?
The main goal for every team is to go to Omaha and win the National Championship and that is no different here, but what I personally want from this year is to put USC baseball back on the map. We have been unfortunate the past couple of years to not meet our own expectations and the expectations that come with playing at the most historic baseball program in the history of college baseball, and I want to be part of the team that brings USC baseball back to dominance and back into the national spotlight.

Third Inning – Do you take more pride in your hitting or your fielding?
I have always taken great pride in hitting, but if I have to pick one, I think I take a little more pride in my defense. I see defense as one of the only things in the game of baseball that I can control completely, and if I end up messing up on the defensive side of the ball it lies solely on me, on my shoulders.

Fourth Inning – What would it mean to you to reach an NCAA Regional this year?
To make an NCAA Regional would mean a great deal. Since I have not been able to play in the postseason yet since I have been here at USC, to make a Regional would mean so much. I have always heard from former Trojans and other players that I have played with over the summer that playing in the postseason is something amazing and something that every player needs to experience while in college.

Fifth Inning – What do the Trojans need to do this season to earn a Regional bid?
For us to make a Regional, we need to manufacture as many runs as possible, play the small game to perfection, and have our pitching staff step up and pitch like we know they can. Since we lost so much from last year on the offensive side and since we are going to have a very young team, we need are veteran pitchers to throw great. On the offensive side, we need to move runners over and score every chance we get.

Sixth Inning – Which teams will be the biggest challenges in the Pac-10 this season?
Every team in the Pac-10 is going to be a challenge. There are never any easy games when it comes to playing against a Pac-10 team, but if I would have to pick one team that will be the biggest challenge it would have to be Oregon State. Oregon State has the experience that most teams in the Pac-10 do not have, with winning multiple National Championships in the past three years. They also return many players from last year's team that competed in a tough Pac-10.

Seventh Inning – What adjustments did you make to hitting with wooden bats the past two summers?
I personally do not try to make any adjustment when it comes to swinging wood over the summer. I just try to stay with my same approach that I have all the time, drive everything up the middle to the right side and adjust to the ball in, and to stay as level as possible with my swing plane.

Eighth Inning – Do you allow yourself to think ahead about the Major League Draft in June?
No I don't. I'm just trying to keep my mind on the season and whatever happens, happens. All I am concerned about right now is what I have to do this year to help USC make a Regional, return to Omaha, and to win our 13th National Championship.

Ninth Inning – Why is Pete Rose one of your sports heroes?
Pete Rose is one of my sports heroes for many reasons. For the fact that he has the most hits all-time and considered one of the greatest hitters and players to ever play the game. But the main reason that he is a hero of mine is because he went out every day and gave it his all. He never took a day off, whether it was an exhibition game, a World Series game, or even an All-Star game, he went out and gave it his all.

Extra Innings – Is there a current major leaguer you enjoy watching?
There are many current major leaguers that I enjoy to watch, but the one that stands out above all else would have to be Derek Jeter. I love to watch him and his approach that he has when he is up to bat. He never gives in no matter what and is probably the most clutch player I have ever seen.


(photos courtesy of USC Media Relations Office)