Marlins give Greenberg the second chance he coveted

The SportsXchange

The Miami Marlins' season is a train wreck, but they're performing a goodwill gesture by giving Adam Greenberg a second chance to play in the major leagues.

The team signed Greenberg to a one-day contract to play Tuesday in Miami against the New York Mets. He will likely face R.A. Dickey.

"A dream come true, part two," Greenberg said Thursday. "I broke down in tears."

Greenberg, 31, had just one other at-bat in the major leagues. On July 9, 2005, he was struck in the back of the head by a fastball from Marlins pitcher Valerio De Los Santos.

Ever since, he has battled vertigo and vision problems while playing in independent leagues.

He had all but given up on returning to the majors when documentary filmmaker Matt Liston launched a campaign called "One At Bat."

The Marlins got word of the campaign this month while Greenberg was at their spring training complex at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, playing for Israel.

Greenberg will donate his day's salary -- roughly $2,700 -- to the Sports Legacy Institute for research on brain trauma in athletes.

Greenberg said he understands there will be "cynics and critics" who wonder if he's subverting the system to get a chance that thousands of other minor-leaguers will not.

"This was never a gimmick. I got to the major leagues on my own merit. I earned that spot seven years ago. The fact that this is not just my first at-bat, I think that's important. It's not just, 'Ah, poor kid, let's just give him a shot,' " he said.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said the best option might be to start Greenberg in left field and have him lead off. That way, he can take him out of the game after he bats in the first inning.

"This game is not like a basketball game, like in the third quarter put him in for one shot," Guillen said. "I think it's easier for everyone to give him one at-bat, lead him off, get the standing ovation, I guess, and then go home."

Guillen couldn't help making a wisecrack: "I might start him in left field, lead off. If he hits a home run, he stays," Guillen said, smiling. "If he's out, he's gone."

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