Larry Greene was backstage during Monday night's draft. His father was right next to him. His mother was there in spirit.

It's been an emotional 6 months for Greene, an athletic outfielder from Berrien High School in Nashville, Ga., who the Phillies selected with the 39th overall pick last night.

Denise Greene, Larry's mother, suffered badly from diabetes and died around the Christmas holidays.

"I can't explain it. I'm excited," he said. "She was a bad diabetic. It was pretty hard to go through. But me and my dad made it through and made it this far. She's watching now, so it's all fine."

Greene (6-1, 225 pounds) hit .562 in 30 games as a centerfielder for Berrien, though the level of his competition wasn't always polished. Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever credited scout Aaron Jersild with traveling to some remote parts of Georgia to get a look at Greene.

"We saw him play a lot," Wolever said. "His father was at every game greeting all the scouts. He's a good kid, plays hard. And his dad's a wonderful person. It all added up and this is what we got."

Wolever projects Greene to play leftfield in the majors. He sees him as a power-hitter able to take advantage of the dimensions of Citizens Bank Park.

"He's a man amongst young men," Wolever said. "He's really strong and powerful and just really a very good athlete."

The selection of Greene came in the supplemental first round and was compensation for the Nationals signing free agent Jayson Werth. The Phillies did not have a true first-round pick as a result of signing Cliff Lee from Texas. The Rangers took Kevin Matthews, a lefthander out of Richmond Hills (Ga.) High School with the 33rd pick. Oddly enough, 33 is the uniform number worn by Lee, who pitched seven shutout innings in the Phils' 3-1 win over the Dodgers last night.

The draft continues Tuesday at noon with rounds 2-30. The Phillies have two picks in the second round (Nos. 66 and 90). The Phils' third-round pick is No. 120. In the fourth round, they are selecting 151 and will draft every 30 picks thereafter. Day 3 of the draft is Wednesday (also a noon start) beginning with Round 31. It will last 50 rounds or when every team has passed on making a pick, whichever comes first.

Greene, a soft spoken 18-year-old, wasn't sure whether he'd sign quickly with the Phillies or proceed to junior college. He turned down an offer from Alabama to play football in order to concentrate on baseball. He's the first outfielder selected by the Phillies with their first pick since Zach Collier in 2008 and was surprised when he was selected. Many predraft rankings did not have him among the top 50.

"I knew I was good," he said. "But I didn't think I was that good."

Watch video highlights of Phillies draft pick Larry Greene at http://www.philly.com/larrygreene.