Notes: Greene glad to play in San Diego
Padres shortstop insists there's no place he would rather be
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Khalil Greene insists he's not yearning for a big payday, nor is he pining to play closer to his offseason home in South Carolina at some point in his career.
Greene said Monday, shortly after his arrival in Peoria, that he would just as soon finish his career with the very same organization that first drafted him in 2002 out of Clemson.
"There's nowhere else I would really rather play than San Diego," Greene told reporters in a nearly empty clubhouse a day before position players are to report.
It was earlier this month when the Padres reached a two-year contract deal with Greene, the team's MVP as a shortstop last season when he set career highs in several offensive categories as well as games played (153).
Greene's contract is worth $11 million, and, perhaps more importantly to Greene and the Padres, it will keep him from arbitration, a process Greene wanted to avoid.
The Padres, according to general manager Kevin Towers, offered deals covering three and four years to Greene's agent, though they couldn't reach a longer deal -- which fueled speculation that Greene didn't want to remain in San Diego beyond 2009.
But Greene insisted Monday he isn't looking for a way out, but he was more focused on finding a fair deal during the offseason and that not signing a long-term deal now is no indication that he wants to eventually play elsewhere.
"To get a good, fair deal is what you're looking for," Greene said. "I don't want to go anywhere. Ideally ... I can stay here for the rest of my career as a Major League baseball player.
"I think people who know me and understand my personality [know] it's not something where I'm looking to get more than I'm worth or that I'm trying to get more money. It's hard to look at it ... that you deserve this, you deserve that."
The 28-year-old Greene is coming off a season in which he played in more games, had more at-bats (611), runs (89), hits (155), doubles (44), home runs (27) and RBIs (97) than any of his previous three-plus seasons with the Padres.
Greene missed parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, but he remained healthy and productive during the '07 season.
"Certainly I'm happy I got through the whole season [healthy], but I feel that production is still a big factor in that," Greene said. "I think I have made strides toward becoming a better player. I feel that I have improved in a lot of areas.
"I don't think you ever reach a level where you've mastered the game. I'm definitely still in the developmental stage as a player."
Greene was asked about his home-road splits and his struggles offensively at PETCO Park. He's a career .228 hitter at home with 27 home runs, while he's a .280 hitter on the road with 47 homers.
"If I would say one thing that's been frustrating is the sheer size of the ballpark. From a defensive end of it, for me, it's the best defensive ballpark in all of baseball. I weigh all of those things. It definitely is a place I want to stay," Greene said.
Towers said he was encouraged to hear about Greene's comments Monday and said he would like nothing more than to keep him in a Padres uniform for quite a while.
"It's good to hear he wants to stay here," Towers said. "We have a lengthy history with this guy. We've watched him come through our Minor League system. He had his best year last year."
A deal for Bud? Towers indicated on Monday that he and Padres CEO Sandy Alderson will sit down sometime this spring to talk about a new contract or, at the very least, picking up the 2009 option on manager Bud Black's contract.
Black signed a two-year deal that had an option for 2009 when he was hired prior to the 2007 season. The Padres won 89 games in Black's first season, missing the playoffs by one game.
"I thought he did a great job last year in his first year," Towers said. "We preach continuity, and Buddy's a big part of this organization. He took charge, and I think the players embraced him right away. He had a real consistent approach. He's only going to get better.
"It's a perfect match. One of the reasons we hired him was we felt he was going to be here a long time and could grow within the organization."
Friar notes: The official report date for position players is Tuesday, though many already have wandered into the clubhouse in Peoria for early work. One was center fielder Jim Edmonds, who took part of Sunday to acclimate himself to the new digs. ... Position players will hold their first workout on Thursday. ... Tadahito Iguchi arrived on Monday with his interpreter, David Yamamoto. A handful of Japanese reporters followed him to the clubhouse. ... The Padres have been linked in at least one Internet report to free-agent outfielder Shannon Stewart, though Towers said unless there's an injury, "I doubt we will bring in any free agents."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.