Chris Smith’s long and winding road in professional baseball has finally made its way to the big leagues.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that it had purchased the contract of Smith, 28, a graduate of Butler High School, giving the right-handed pitcher his first Major League call-up.
The call-up complete’s Smith’s incredible journey through the back roads of professional baseball. Following his graduation from Kentucky Wesleyan, where he had only been converted to a pitcher in his senior year, Smith competed in the independent Frontier League from 2010-2012, as well as a short stint in the independent Pecos League in 2011.
Following the 2012 season, Smith traveled to Australia, where he pitched nine times for the Brisbane Bandits, going 3-3 with a 2.31 ERA.
That experience helped Smith land a minor league deal with the New York Yankees in spring of 2013, but a stress fracture in his forearm kept him from taking the mound that season.
Smith finally made his minor league debut in 2014, pitching in Single-A for the Tampa Yankees and Charleston River Dogs. But midway into his 2015 season in Tampa, the Yankees release Smith. On August 1, five days after his release, the Blue Jays picked Smith up and assigned him to their Double-A team in New Hampshire. After a stellar fall in Puerto Rico, Smith returned to New Hampshire this past spring and was 1-2 with a 1.89 ERA out of the bullpen, earning him a late-season call-up to Triple-A Buffalo.