Houston. He’s not the most talkative player on the Astros, at least outside of the clubhouse. His responses to the press are terse, and his appearances to conferences before or after a game seem more like a difficult affair for the Houston starting pitcher to swallow. Zack greinke, who however within the ‘clubhouse’ has one of his best allies in the Puerto Rican receiver Martín “Machete” Maldonado.
The same one with which he also connects as a drummer when he has to pitch, as he did in this World Series in the fourth game held in Atlanta, when he threw for four innings and allowing only four hits without more freedom to the Braves.
Thus, little to speak, it has been since before he was diagnosed in 2006, in just his third season in the majors with the Kansas City Royals, the social anxiety disorder that almost led him to retire from baseball that year.
Greinke would end up overcoming it and although he has that weight on him, he has managed to overcome himself and is today one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball after 18 seasons in the majors.
“I had the opportunity to also be with him in Milwaukee (Brewers) and we shared there as well. We have a tremendous relationship. We do not have a relationship only in the park, but one of friendship. We text each other all the time, “Maldonado told this medium when asked about his reunion with Greinke in 2019, when he was traded from Arizona.
Maldonado and Greinke had already met again in the 2011 season after the pitcher was traded from the Royals to the Milwaukee Brewers in the pre-season timeout. With Milwaukee, Greinke played that season and part of 2012, when the Brewers sent him to the Angels.
The Puerto Rican catcher had made his debut precisely in 2011 in the Majors, and Greinke’s change meant a reunion because they had previously coincided in the Puerto Rican winter ball, when being a prospect of the Royals organization, he was sent to play in the League of Professional Baseball Roberto Clemente with the Mayagüez Indians.
That was after Greinke was picked in the sixth inning of the 2002 first round draft by Kansas City, and finished signing with a $ 2.5 million bonus.
“It was no surprise,” Maldonado said when asked how the reunion with Greinke was at the Astros. “We knew he was going to be here.”
Is that when the trade deadline arrived in July 2019, the Astros were on the hunt for a starter and Greinke arrived in a transaction with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom years before he had signed a multi-year pact for six seasons and $ 206.5 million . That pact concludes at the end of this season with the World Series.
“He is a normal person. He likes his things… he likes to drink wine, play golf and basketball. He is a person who only talks about the things he likes. If they are topics that do not interest him, he will not express himself, “said Maldonado, alluding to the fact that he is not very talkative.
“He’s going to be a (member of) the Hall of Fame as soon as he retires. The numbers have been there and he has done the right things to be Hall of Fame. “
On the other hand, Maldonado recalled the late Tyler Herron, another pitcher he met in the ranks of the Indians and who died last week in circumstances that have not been clarified.
Herron, a pitcher of Puerto Rican descent who had participated in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League for several years, was found dead in his apartment in the United States last Wednesday. He made his winter league debut for the 2011-2012 season. He played for Mayagüez, Caguas and Manatí. He was 35 years old at the time of his death.
“I remember that at that time (in the Indians) he was the ‘closer’ of us when we were champions. He was a person who wanted the ball all the time. A guy who didn’t speak Spanish, but felt 100 percent Puerto Rican. And he wanted to be there for us, both for Mayagüez and other teams in which he participated, ”Maldonado recalled.
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Machete Maldonado assures that Zack Greinke has a friendly side, although few know them like that