What is Zack Greinke's Experience with Social Anxiety Disorder?

Zack Greinke. Photo: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images


Professional Baseball Player (Pitcher)

Experience with social anxiety disorder​:

Zack Greinke is a professional baseball player who has battled social anxiety disorder (SAD) and depression throughout his short career. In 2005, Greinke lost 17 games, deepening his depression and bouts of social anxiety and distancing himself from his fellow players. In February 2006, Greinke broke down after a tumultuous training session with the Kansas City Royals.

He subsequently took time off from the sport to obtain treatment.


In 2006, Greinke took seven months away from major league baseball, during which time he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, received treatment from a sports psychologist and began taking antidepressant medication.


Donald Zackary Greinke ("Zack") was born in Orlando, Florida on October 21, 1983. Selected from Apopka high school in the first round of the 2002 player draft, Greinke was named Gatorade National Player of the Year that same season. Greinke entered the major league on May 22, 2004, playing in the same game that saw the retirement of Reggie Jackson's number.

Greinke's performance has seen its ups and downs largely due to his battles with depression and anxiety. In 2004, he ended the season with 8 wins and 11 losses and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.97. His 2005 season was not as successful (5-17, ERA of 5.80), and in February of 2006 he left the Kansas City Royals spring training camp because of depression and anxiety.

Greinke spent some time away from baseball, eventually returning to sign a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals in 2007. In 2008 he had a good year, posting 13 wins and 10 losses and an ERA of 3.47. In January 2009, Greinke signed a 4-year contract with the Kansas City Royals worth $38 million, and pitched 24 consecutive innings without giving up a run.

Thoughts about SAD:

Although Greinke does not talk publicly about having SAD, others have made comments about what he has been through.

From Dayton Moore, the Kansas City Royals General Manager: “I can’t speak to this because I’ve never experienced it, but I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him to recognize his condition and evaluate it honestly and do something about it,” Moore said. “He’s been able to take all of those experiences and combine them and that’s why he is where he is today.”


Curry J. Greinke has been perfect, but he's trying to do better. The New York Times. April 23, 2009.

Posnanski J. Zack Greinke is in total control. Sports Illustrated. May 4, 2009.

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