His face is shadowed under an oversized baseball cap. His gaze is often averted to the ceiling or floor. His handshake is distant, his voice is small, his sentences trail off into awkward silence.
The first impression of Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is that, despite having just signed a $147-million deal with a team in baseball's second-largest market, he simply wants to run away and hide.
It is a daily act of courage that he does not.
"I didn't think there was anything wrong with me," he said Friday. ''But there is, I guess."
Greinke will be paid more than any right-handed pitcher in baseball history to serve as one of the new centerpieces on a Dodgers team that has been rebuilt to challenge for a championship. Yet seven years ago, he was too uncomfortable in public to even throw a pitch.
Greinke walked away from the Kansas City Royals and missed two months of the 2006 season with what was eventually diagnosed as social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. He returned to the minor leagues hoping only to become functional. It turns out, he became great, eventually winning the Cy Young Award for the Royals in 2009, winning a playoff game for the Milwaukee Brewers, and briefly pitching for the Angels before eventually winding up in front of a small group of reporters Friday in his first truly personal interview as a Dodger.
Zack Greinke gets through anxious moments
Los Angeles Times | Feb 16