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Adam Greenberg strikes out against R.A. Dickey in second-chance at-bat

The Miami Marlins' Adam Greenberg bats for the

The Miami Marlins' Adam Greenberg bats for the first time since being hit in the head by a pitch in 2005 in his first major league at-bat during a game against the Mets at Marlins Park. (Oct. 2, 2012) Credit: Getty

MIAMI -- Adam Greenberg wasn't going to get preferential treatment, not from the Mets. Though his story of redemption resonated in the Mets clubhouse, he wasn't going to see any grooved fastballs from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

True to his word, Dickey offered only his best to Greenberg, who struck out on three pitches in his improbable return to the major leagues Tuesday night in the Marlins' 4-3 win.

"That was important for him and me I think, for me to treat him like a big leaguer," Dickey said. "That's how I was treating it. I wanted him to have his moment for sure and tried to give him as much time as I felt like I could before I got on the rubber. I think the story far transcends the result of the at-bat."

Indeed, the crowd gave the modern-day Moonlight Graham a standing ovation before and after his brief appearance.

"It was magical," the 31-year-old Greenberg said. "The energy that was in the stadium . . . I never experienced that in my life and I don't know if I'll ever experience that again."

Greenberg's only previous big-league appearance ended in disaster. In 2005, while playing for the Cubs, he took a fastball off his batting helmet on the only pitch he saw in his debut.

He suffered major concussion symptoms then attempted to revive his career.

When a documentary filmmaker took an interest in Greenberg's story, he began a campaign to get the former Cub one more at-bat.

Greenberg got that elusive at-bat when he pinch hit for Bryan Peterson to lead off the sixth.

"I felt them wanting me to get a hit," Greenberg said of the Mets. "Maybe not Dickey. But he came after me just the same way that I would expect him to. He came after me like a big-league hitter."

Greenberg took a called strike then flailed at a knuckleball for strike two. Behind 0-and-2, he wrapped up his first official at-bat by swinging through another knuckler.

He walked off the field with a lifetime batting record: two plate appearances, one hit by pitch, one strikeout.

This time, he went down swinging.

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