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

High School Football

Bye week arrives for East Coweta, Newnan

The timing of this week's bye may differ for East Coweta and Newnan football teams, who have taken opposite roads through the start of the 2 ... Read More


High School Football

Central stays unbeaten in weather-delayed 74-point outing

Central Christian's stay in Prattville, Ala. for Friday night's football game was a lot longer than the Crusaders anticipated. But they made ... Read More


Lady Cougars finish 3-1 at Trojan Slam tournament

Newnan posted a 3-1 record in games played Friday and Saturday at the Trojan Slam in Carrollton. After falling to Bremen 5-2 to open the tou ... Read More


High School Football

In front of governor, Indians prove real deal in tough win at Whitewater

All signs appeared to point to something special in the air, even prior to the kickoff of Friday night’s East Coweta football game at ... Read More


High School Football

Cougars can’t find second effort again in loss to ranked Sandy Creek lineup

By MATTHEW PEARCE Special to the Newnan Times-Herald For the second consecutive week the Newnan Cougars had a 7-point game go awry in the ... Read More

High School Football

Hawks storm pass Young Americans

CONYERS — The Heritage School may have stayed until dawn to make sure Friday’s football game ended the right way, epecially afte ... Read More