Rule 5 pick Smith returns to White Sox

Rule 5 pick Smith returns to White Sox

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-handed reliever and Rule 5 pick Blake Smith has cleared waivers and will return to the White Sox.

Smith, who was one of four Rule 5 players in Padres camp this spring, allowed five earned runs on 12 hits in 7 2/3 innings. He posted a 2.89 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 44 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Rule 5 selections must remain on the big league roster for the entire season or be put on waivers. If they clear waivers -- as Smith did -- they are offered back to their former club.

Fellow Rule 5 picks Jabari Blash, Luis Perdomo and Josh Martin remain on the Padres roster. Over the next week, the club must decide whether to give them a Major League chance or place them on waivers. Should they clear waivers, the Padres could also work out a trade to bring them on board.

Smith's departure does little to clarify a crowded bullpen situation in San Diego, with 17 potential relievers still in big league camp.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.