Zack Greinke, slugger?
When Greinke smashed the go-ahead home run in white-hot Milwaukee's 6-4 win over Washington on Wednesday, here's guessing that one of the least surprised folks in Miller Park was the guy the Brewers are used to seeing jack baseballs over distant fences.
See, Fielder and Greinke were summer teammates for a spell in their high school days during a handful of All-Star Showcase Games in Florida. Greinke graduated from Apopka High School near Orlando, Fielder from Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla.
"He played third base and hit in front of me," Fielder was saying of those summer games during a conversation last week. "He was good."
So good, in fact, that Fielder thought Greinke's main talent was with the bat.
"I didn't know he was a pitcher until senior year of high school," Fielder said. "I thought he was a third baseman. That's what he played in those Showcase games.
"He was always a top player as a third baseman. It was in my senior year that I saw him pitching one day on the news in Florida and I thought, 'Wow.'"
Who was the more prodigious slugger in those Showcase games, Fielder or Greinke?
"I know he raked," Fielder said. "But I don't remember him hitting any home runs."
Fielder then grinned, devilishly.
"No home runs," he said. "Tell him I told you that. No pop. Just a gap-to-gap hitter."
Alas, when I went looking for Greinke to do just that last Thursday in San Diego, he wasn't around. Because it was a night game on the West Coast and because Greinke was slated to start the next night as the Brewers opened their current homestand, he and Shaun Marcum had flown back to Milwaukee earlier that day so they could get a bit of extra rest.
And now that Greinke has some real, live street cred (not to mention bragging rights) as a bona fide slugger, Fielder is going to have to dig into his bag of tricks for another way to tease the 2009 AL Cy Young winner.
But given that Greinke, whose first seven seasons of pitching came in Kansas City, has a total of 32 career at-bats, one homer per 16 ABs is pretty impressive.
That career homers-to-at-bats ratio, incidentally, is the exact same as another Milwaukee icon.
The Brewers now have won 13 of their past 16 games, and nine in a row at home -- their longest streak in the 11-year history of Miller Park.