Pro Baseball

Smith satisfied with new role in Royals' pen

Making a shift from a starting pitcher to the bullpen is no easy task for a player at any level. 

Will Smith never hesitated if it meant returning to the Kansas City Royals and facing major league batters again.

“I’ll play shortstop,” Smith said. “Any way to get here, you’re here.”

The Newnan left-hander is back with the Royals for the third time this season and the fifth time over the last two years after making two lengthier stints with the big club during his rookie 2012 season. 

He was recalled twice again in April for doubleheaders under the league’s 26-man roster rule, starting one game against the Cleveland Indians before being returned to the Triple-A Omaha Stormchasers. Shortly afterwards, the Royals made the decision to start using the 6-foot-5, 250-pound southpaw in relief situations. 

Smith answered by allowing just one run and six hits in his first seven appearances before getting yet another call from Kansas City, this time when the team needed to add a lefty to its bullpen. 

So far, he’s made the adjustment, throwing an inning of scoreless relief during Tuesday’s game against the Atlanta Braves shortly after arriving from Omaha. The Royals, who split two games at home against the Braves following a 4-3 win in 10 innings in Wednesday’s late finale, now head to Minnesota for a weekend series with the Twins. 

“It’s starting to get easier down there,” Smith told the Kansas City Star writer Tod Palmer of the adjustment to the bullpen. “The biggest change is the routine. I’ve told a million people that I was used to having five days, so the workout’s different, the running’s different, how many pitches you throw before you go in is different. Now, it’s a little light work, a little light running and eight pitches — you’re ready to go. That was tough to get adjusted to.”

The one-time Northgate High ace, who twice earned Times-Herald Player of the Year honors during his varsity career, is still pleased to be a part of the Royals’ plans despite movement in the offseason with the team’s pitching staff. Kansas City added three new starters, two in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays after Smith was used in the No. 5 spot in the rotation for the last two-plus months of the 2012 season. 

“I’ll stay down here for the rest of my career if I have to as long as I’m in the big leagues,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter.”




More Sports

Weather forces cancellations

Both Newnan and the Heritage School were scheduled to play key region games on Tuesday, but thunderstorms that included hail were the big wi ... Read More


High School Soccer

Heritage School blanks Trinity in first of two meetings

Even as the sun set on a perfect spring evening for soccer (for once), shadows remained on the field at The Heritage School. They came in t ... Read More


High School Soccer

Northgate opens annual Coweta Cup with sweep over Newnan

Northgate is off to a fast start in this year’s Coweta Cup soccer tournament, after its boys and girls teams swept Newnan on Monday at ... Read More


High School Baseball

Vikings cap off region sweep of Mundy’s Mill

Northgate’s baseball team erased a bit of a slow start with a five-run second inning and held Mundy’s Mill to just two hits en r ... Read More


Spring Sports Roundup

Cougars win Carrollton Invitational

Newnan’s golf team held on to its opening round lead during the final day of the Carrollton Invitational en route to a 21-stroke victo ... Read More

High School Baseball

Newnan sweeps Lowndes

For the Newnan Cougars, stepping out of region play must agree with them. After beating Lowndes High School in extra innings in the first ga ... Read More