Green misses out in return to Turner Field

ATLANTA Nick Green had been able to play a true "home" game during just one series since being traded by the Atlanta Braves after his rookie season in 2004, and he was looking forward to getting another chance.

It didn't happen.

As Miami prepared to end a three-game series at Turner Field on Thursday night, the Duluth High School graduate and Lawrenceville resident could just watch in street clothes from behind the cage as his Marlins teammates took batting practice.

Green's star-crossed 14th professional season came to an end on Aug. 12 when he made a drive for a ball while playing third base against the Los Angeles Dodgers and tore a ligament in his left thumb.

"I had been really looked forward to coming back here to play," said Green, who made a return with the Boston Red Sox in 2009. "But my thumb isn't close to being healed."

Green had played in just seven games for the Marlins after being promoted from Triple-A New Orleans, where he'd hit .344 with 16 doubles, 12 homers and 47 RBIs in 63 after recovering from a foot injury.

"My luck hasn't been very good," the veteran infielder said. "I was getting a chance to play everyday and then I get hurt."

Green, who turned 34 on Sept. 10, had started six straight games at either second or third when he was hurt and had gotten a hit in the last three, making him 4-for-23.

"I hadn't had time to get in a groove," he said.

Miami is the eighth major league team for Green and the Marlins are his 12th organization. In addition to the Braves and Marlins, he's been in the majors with Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees, Seattle, Boston, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto.

When Green played at Turner Field with Boston in 2009, he was the Red Sox's regular shortstop. But that season was cut short in September and he needed back surgery.

Green hasn't spent a full year in the majors since and his best season at the plate remains his rookie season with the Braves, when he hit .273 in 95 games.

"I'm not getting any younger, but I want to keep playing as long as someone will have me," Green said.