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Shane Greene's success is no surprise to Joe Girardi

Detroit Tigers pitcher Shane Greene delivers a pitch

Detroit Tigers pitcher Shane Greene delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on April 19, 2015 in Detroit. Credit: Getty Images / Duane Burleson

DETROIT - For Joe Girardi, it comes down to one of those old sayings:

"To get something, you have to give up something," he said Monday.

He was referring to former Yankees righthander Shane Greene, dealt to the Tigers in the offseason in the three-team deal that landed Didi Gregorius.

While Gregorius has struggled at bat, in the field and on the bases for the Yankees, Greene, 26, is off to a scorching start for the Tigers: 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP.

Greene will not face the Yankees in this four-game series after pitching Sunday against the White Sox, a 9-1 victory in which he allowed one run and five hits in seven innings.

"He's pitched very well,'' Girardi said, "and we saw him do that for us last year."

Because of a slew of injuries to their rotation last season, the Yankees brought up Greene, a somewhat unheralded prospect, who went 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 14 starts.

"It's a young man with a very good arm, with good movement on his fastball, a good slider and a good changeup that I thought developed as the year went on," Girardi said. "I'm not really surprised."

Nor is Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain, who said he got to know Greene a little bit when they were in the Yankees' organization. "Nothing's straight. He continues to go out and pound the zone," Chamberlain said. "His sinker's obviously off the charts and he's throwing his changeup more, which I think is going to be an equalizer to get people off his fastball. These first three have been fun to watch."

Girardi didn't dispute the notion that it was tough to let Greene go. "Any time you let a young starting pitcher go, I think it's difficult," he said. "But to get an everyday shortstop, those don't just fall out of trees. So to get something, you have to give up something."

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