Righty Minaya, catcher Smith first September callups
White Sox backstop's first shot at Majors was derailed by injury
By Scott Merkin
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevan Smith's road to the Majors has been a somewhat painful one, and that description focuses solely on the catcher's 2016 trials and travails.
"Sum it up, just a bunch of bad luck," said Smith with a resigned smile, as he spoke to the media in the visitors' clubhouse prior to Minnesota's 8-5 victory at Target Field.
Smith was part of the first wave of White Sox callups with rosters expanding on Thursday, joined by right-handed reliever Juan Minaya in their recall from Triple-A Charlotte. Both players entered in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday, with Minaya striking out one in a scoreless frame and Smith throwing out Jorge Polanco trying to steal second before lining out in the ninth.
The 28-year-old Smith reached the Majors earlier this season, and in fact was set to make his debut during an April 25 game in Toronto.
With the precarious nature of back injuries, White Sox manager Robin Ventura held on to the original lineup card with Smith's name as a starter in case he never made it back.
"You don't really know what to do with it because it was all written out and I didn't necessarily want to throw it away," Ventura said. "You just never know anyone's story. I kept it so we can throw it away at the point he does start a game. You're glad he's back up here so that's not the end of his story."
"Hopefully he'll get a fresh one with his name in the box score in the coming weeks," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "I think there is a sigh of relief in the clubhouse."
With the Knights, Smith threw out 39.5 percent of attempted basestealers. He hit .219 with nine doubles, eight home runs, 24 RBIs and 18 runs scored over 49 games.
Minaya, 25, went 4-3 with a 3.38 ERA, 28 strikeouts and a .225 opponents average against over 17 relief appearances with Charlotte. Right-handers hit .159 against Minaya, who was claimed off of waivers from Houston on June 22 after being designated for assignment on June 20.
"It feels great," said Minaya, the club's No. 30 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. "I've been waiting for this a long time. Now I want to take advantage."
"He's a pitcher that will throw what you put down. He's a guy that trusts you. He's a guy that throws balls with conviction," said Smith of Minaya. "He's such a great guy too. A pleasure to work with and just to travel up with him and see a big smile on his face the whole way, to experience that with him and see all the phone calls and the family, it was a good time."
This chance is even more special for Smith, who fought his way back from becoming an injury footnote after his short first stint with the team.
"For some reason, it was meant happen. I don't know why it was meant to happen that day," Smith said. "It taught me a lot about my body and what I need to do in order for me to have a long career. I need to know what I can do and how I can prevent certain things."
Anderson leaves game with injury
Tim Anderson left Thursday's 8-5 loss to the Twins at Target Field in the bottom of the third due to a bruised right calf. The White Sox rookie shortstop is listed as day to day.
Anderson singled in the first, but was ruled out when Melky Cabrera's line drive headed to right hit Anderson in the ensuing at-bat. He stayed in the game until Carlos Sanchez replaced him in the field, with Tyler Saladino moving to shortstop. Sanchez doubled twice, giving the White Sox three hits from the two-spot.
"It started tightening up on me. I couldn't move how I wanted to move, kind of uncomfortable," Anderson said. "We'll see how I feel tomorrow."
"He tried to get out of the way," Ventura said. "But it was hit too hard."