Wild Things’ Smith picked up by Yankees
A good summer in Washington and a solid winter in Australia has landed Chris Smith a spot in the New York Yankees’ minor-league spring training.
The Wild Things announced Tuesday that the contract of Smith, a right-handed pitcher, has been purchased by the Yankees. He will go to minor league spring training in Florida with the Yankees in March.
Smith had a strong 2012 season with the Wild Things, posting a 9-6 record with a 2.92 ERA, the latter being eighth-best in the Frontier League. He struck out 116 batters in 129 1/3 innings.
Smith followed that breakout season by playing this winter with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League. He was selected to play in the league’s all-star game and had a 2.31 ERA in nine starts.
“Chris was a valuable part of our starting rotation and will be missed, but I wish him all the best in the Yankees’ system. He has the skills that it takes to make it to the majors and I look forward to watching him develop,” Wild Things assistant GM Steve Zavacky said.
The Wild Things also announced that seven players – outfielders Gus Benusa and Darian Sandford, shortstop A.J. Nunziato, second baseman Shain Stoner, right-handed pitcher Gary Lee and left-handed pitchers Shawn Smith and Anthony Collazo – have signed contract extensions for 2013.
Sandford was acquired in a trade with Southern Illinois last year and set the Frontier League record with 71 stolen bases.
Lee (7-5, 2.89), who finished last season as a player/pitching coach, will be classified as a Veteran, according to Frontier League roster rules. A Vet is the one player on the roster who can exceed the FL’s 27-year-old age limit.
Washington also placed infielder Brad Agustin on the retired list. Agustin was acqauired at midseason last year in a trade with London. He batted .183 in 31 games with Washington.