Smith A Traveling Man

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - Over the past two months, Murphy Smith's travel itinerary has been similar to that of a major leaguer.

The Oakland A's 13th round selection in June's amateur draft finished his college season at Binghamton University in New York. After signing with the A's, he boarded a cross-country flight southwest to the Arizona Rookie League. A brief cameo in the Phoenix area concluded with a one-way ticket to Vancouver and an even shorter stint with the Canadians.

After four outings and two professional stops over a three-week span, in which he allowed four earned runs on eight hits and striking out nine over 10 innings, Murphy Smith finally landed in the starting rotation at Kane County in a full-season league in mid-July.

"It's been a rollercoaster right from the day of the draft," said Smith, who was the 393rd overall selection in this year's draft.

"Right now I'm adapting as quickly as I can to get settled in. I really haven't had time to get comfortable in one league, work on one thing or another, or how to pitch everybody so I'm just pitching my game right now."

After working 2 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start, Smith was not as sharp in his second outing and had to leave early after getting struck in the right biceps.

"I was on a pitch count, so I knew I was only going to be pitching around four innings," Smith said.

"But at the same time, I was pitching pretty well and that's not how you want to end a start. That's how it happened and thankfully it wasn't anything too serious."

He missed his next start in the rotation, but returned to action on Friday night at Lansing.

Smith has dealt with adversity and long hours spent traveling by air and bus, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I was pretty much ready to take the next step," said Smith, the America East Conference pitcher of the year this spring after going 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 84 strikeouts and 14 walks in 89 1/3 innings.

"I talked to the A's scout who signed me a couple times throughout the year. He watched me pitch a couple times. Before the draft, he just had some signability questions for me. I didn't really set a money amount or round with any of the teams that I had talked to. I told the guys to draft me where they think they should and then I'll make a decision after that."

Smith prides himself on commanding his fastball, while mixing in a curveball, slider and changeup. He will continue working on his four-pitch arsenal the rest of this summer, but with 105 innings already under his belt between the college and professional seasons Smith's workload will be light.


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