Adam Greenberg: "Just Win Baby"

Adam Greenberg

Outfielder Adam Greenberg and the AA Southern League-leading West Tenn Diamond Jaxx have a familiar outlook on things that you may have heard once or twice from Oakland Raider football nostalgia: "Just Win, Baby."

"I think that's the mood around here," said Greenberg, batting .275 through 43 games. "Statistics will follow if you're winning. Everyone just goes out and concentrates on doing everything they can to help the team win.

"It probably sounds a little different than what you hear from most minor leaguers, because the minors are really all about development. But when you learn how to win, you're developing not only your skills, but your desire to be the best. When you grasp that desire, you never want to let it go."

Winning is nothing new to Greenberg, a left-handed hitter and North Carolina alumnus who features plenty of speed and pop in his game. His 2004 Daytona team were first half champions of the Florida State League East, and this year's Jaxx (35-16) currently have the best record in all of Double-A baseball.

"We talk about wanting to have the best record in minor league baseball," Greenberg said. "Everyday is to go out and get it done. We expect to win. It's not a big surprise (when we win). It's our job."

Greenberg is currently batting .247 (20-for-81) in May with the majority of his starts in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. He admits to being generally satisfied with his fourth season in the Cubs' farm system.

"The biggest thing is where I am now and the team I'm with," said Greenberg, a ninth round draft pick in 2002. "I'm having the time of my life playing with this team and the success we're having collectively. There are certainly some things to work on. I'd like to be swinging a little better and be more aggressive on the bases, but I'm having fun."

Early on this season, Greenberg picked up an unusual amount of strikeouts at the plate. He averaged one per game with 20 in his first 19 contests. The result wasn't in his approach, he says.

"What had been happening early on in the season were just some mechanical things with my swing," Greenberg said. "I wasn't being as aggressive. When I was swinging, my head was moving. I would be swinging through a lot of pitches where I thought the ball was, so I picked up a lot of strikeouts. Over the last two weeks, my walks and strikeouts have been about even. It's something I try not to press on or really think about. The biggest thing is having a good at-bat every time up there and to try and put the ball in play."

Greenberg's power numbers are up slightly from a year ago. With two homers and eight doubles, he is currently on pace to match or surpass his 2004 total of six homers and 17 doubles, respectively.

However, power isn't something Greenberg prides himself on.

"As long as I stay gap-to-gap, power isn't something I'm focused on at all," Greenberg said. "Sure, it's an added bonus if I hit a homer. But my on-base percentage is the most important thing. Power numbers are just a plus."

One of the things previously noted in Spring Training was Greenberg's slight drop-off in stolen bases in 2004 from the previous year. In 72 games at Daytona in 2003, he stole 26 bases in 35 attempts. A year ago, in 124 games, Greenberg stole 19 bases in 27 attempts.

This season, the 24-year-old Connecticut native is a perfect 8-for-8 on the bases.

"I really pride myself on making sure I can get there," Greenberg said. "At the same time, I also think I need to be more aggressive. Vince Coleman is our base-running instructor, and he has helped a lot in picking which pitches to run on. I want to make sure I have a really good shot at making it by picking breaking ball counts and knowing the pitcher and whether or not he's side-stepping. There's no need to run into an out. You want to pick your spots and make sure you're aggressive, but not reckless."

One of the better aspects of Greenberg's game is his ability to bunt and sacrifice. Last year, scouts and broadcasters alike told Inside The Ivy that one of Greenberg's best attributes was his knack for staying out of prolonged hitting slumps by bunting his way on base.

"Batting second in the order behind (Felix) Pie, it's a part of my game that I have to be able to master," Greenberg said. "I have to get on base and sacrifice when needed. We've talked collectively as a team with our manager (Bobby Dickerson) about not chasing our numbers if we do what we're supposed to do. If the manager gives the bunt sign, you're giving the guy on deck a better chance to succeed."

Since bunt singles and attempts aren't lumped statistically, it's an aspect that generally has to be tracked or noted by scouts or coaches.

So, just how often does Greenberg try and bunt his way on base?

"I don't know an exact number," he said. "But certainly it has been a regular part of my game. It's only going to get larger, because I'm feeling more confident with it. A lot of props belong to Jeff Huson, who is basically our bunting rover. In my career, I've always had difficulty bunting to third. To second was never a problem, but with Jeff's help, bunting to third has added another dimension to my game. It will allow me to further stay out of hitting slumps.

"If I'm not swinging the bat well and have to bunt two or three times a game, I'll do it."

Greenberg finished 0-for-3 in Monday's 5-2 Diamond Jaxx win over Birmingham. He batted ninth in the lineup for just the sixth time this year.

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