Smith happy to be back with Rockies
Young right-fielder handed first big-league start upon return
DENVER -- Last fall, cheers of a delirious Coors Field crowd rang in the ears of Rockies outfield prospect Seth Smith, who came out of nowhere to give the team several key pinch-hits during its run to the World Series.
On Saturday morning, some of the best news of Smith's career came in a whisper, this time from Rockies bench coach Jamie Quirk: "Right field."
Because the Rockies placed Brad Hawpe on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain, Smith was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Quirk was informing Smith that he would be receiving his first Major League start.
Smith, 25, went 5-for-7 during the regular season and 3-for-6 in the postseason last year. But he was an odd man out in a crowded Rockies outfield situation this spring. Smith hit .321 with six home runs and 30 RBIs this season at Colorado Springs.
"Nobody wants to be [in Triple-A], but while you're there, you have things you need to work on, and that's what you do," Smith said. "It's a business and you have to prepare yourself, so when you do get called up and get an opportunity, you're ready."
The Rockies list Smith at 215 pounds, but he showed up at Spring Training bulkier than when last season ended. But Smith said just the natural exertions of the early season has him down around 210, where he'll likely stay.
"I think he's gotten in game shape, and he got a lot of at-bats for us in Spring Training," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're all confident that he'll hit. He played more left field than he played right field, but right field is a position he's visited before. He's swinging the bat well."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.