Originally created 02/21/99

Greene throwing without difficulty



TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels catcher Todd Greene says he's throwing without difficulty, 18 months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Greene, 27, played only 29 games last season after undergoing the surgery following the 1997 season.

The Evans native was the Angels' top prospect in 1995, hitting 40 home runs in the minor leagues. In 1997, he hit nine homers and 24 RBIs for the Angels in 124 at-bats.

"The shoulder has responded pretty well because I'm taking care of it," Greene said Saturday. "I'm anxious to get to the point where I'm back to business as usual, but I feel like I'm getting there."

Angels manager Terry Collins has placed Greene under a strict regimen of throwing every other day in spring training.

"When he can't throw, he will still catch, but somebody else will throw the ball back to the pitcher," Collins said. "We'll also try him in the outfield on those days, so he can work on moving around out there."

Collins has not ruled out using Greene as a designated hitter, but it appears that Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Dave Hollins will also occupy that role.

The Angels are stocked at catcher as well, with veteran Charlie O'Brien, Matt Walbeck and Phil Nevin.

"So it's not like we're in a panic mode," Collins said. "Todd is still a young man with a heck of future. We'd hate to ruin it all by rushing him back.

"It might take some time. Who knows how long. But he'll be back strong."