Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Luke Hochevar was placed on paternity leave, which means reliever Will Smith will get another opportunity with the team. It will be the seventh time this season that Smith has been called up by the Royals. Most players would go a little crazy after having to move back and forth so many times, but there is no question Smith is thankful for another chance with the ball club.
It is certainly a big disappointment not to have Hochevar with the team for a few days considering how well he is pitching this season. The right-hander has put forth arguably the best season of his career. The starter turned reliever is 3-2 with a 1.93 earned run average, 58 strikeouts, two saves and three holds in 56 innings.
As much as Kansas City hates to see Hochevar leave town for a while, the organization is thankful they have someone of Smith’s talent who can fill in.
“It’s a nice luxury to have,” manager Ned Yost said, according to KansasCityRoyals.com. “It’s kind of not fair to him, he gets to come up, do well and go back down, but it’s nice to have that comfort level knowing that when these things arise, you have someone to plug into the puzzle to help you out. I have confidence in Will and he has done a great job every time he’s come up.”
The 24-year-old, who has seen time in the majors the past two seasons, is 1-1 with a 3.27 earned run average and 23 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Even though if he pitches lights out for the Royals while he is taking over for Hochevar he will still get sent back down when the 29-year-old returns. However, Smith has to be thankful for the opportunity to prove to Kansas City that he has what it takes to pitch at a high level in the big leagues. There is no doubt that will help his cause in Spring Training next year.