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Grant Green facing a new challenge in return to Salt Lake Bees

By Ryan Miller

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Aug. 24 2014 11:10 p.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 26 2014 1:11 p.m. MDT

Bees infielder Grant Green during a baseball game against Albuquerque at Smith's Ballpark on April 20 in Salt Lake City.

Hugh Carey, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — When Salt Lake Bees pitcher Vinnie Pestano was a senior at Canyon High in Anaheim, California, he played with a young freshmen by the name of Grant Green. In Salt Lake, the two have been reunited.

Because of their age difference, the players didn't know each other well — Pestano is better friends with Green's older brother, who was just a year younger than the pitcher — but they now face similar situations with the Bees.

In April, Grant Green was a Bee regular, but as the games went by one thing was made clear — he didn't belong in Triple-A.

Green regularly bludgeoned PCL pitchers, hitting for .365, and soon the Angels took notice. On May 2, the utility infielder was called up to the parent club, and though he has seen time in Salt Lake since his initial call-up, he made it clear where he should be playing baseball.

"I am very happy with the way I played," Green said before the Bees' 8-6 loss to New Orleans on Sunday. "Would I have loved to be up there when I get sent down? Of course. But there's other stuff that needed to happen for them. A couple of times they needed a couple pitchers and I was the odd man out. I understand that, I had the least amount of service time."

Green finds himself back in Salt Lake rehabbing from a weightlifting injury he sustained in July, but he may have to again prove his worth to the big league club. On August 21, the Angels acquired infielder Gordon Beckham in a trade. Beckham offers many of the same things Green has provided this season.

"It's going to be very interesting to see what happens," Green said about the trade. "I have proven that I deserve to be there and if they go out and get someone else there's nothing I can do about it. I think I have played well enough, and proven to them that I can play, not only the left side of the infield, but I can play second, I've played left and I've hit up there. It's something that I have done all I can do. It's out of my hands."

The Beckham trade has provided an obstacle for Green, one that his old high school teammate can relate to.

"The (Angels) bullpen is stacked with guys like me," Pestano said.

Pestano, who had been used as a situational or one-inning reliever with the Indians organization, has been pitching longer outings since he was traded to the Angels earlier this month.

"Anything I can do to benefit the ballclub up there and do down here, I'm game for," Pestano said.

Green and Pestano's roles on the big league club may not be crystal clear, but with September call-ups looming, the pair's reunion still may continue much closer to home — in Anaheim.

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