Smith Glad to Be Home

Marquez Smith is feeling right at home at Class High-A Daytona. A Chicago Cubs eighth-round draft pick in 2007, Smith grew up only an hour and a half away from Daytona Beach in Ocala, Fla., and attended junior college just around the corner from Jackie Robinson Ballpark before going on to Clemson to finish up his college career.

"I used to play ball in this park as a kid," recalls Smith. "You can imagine a 13-year-old playing on a minor league field. It was always my dream to play in this park."

Smith was drafted four times total: twice by the Cubs, in the 35th round of 2006 and in the eighth round a year ago; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 46th round of 2004, and the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round of 2003 before signing with the Cubs after his senior year.

"I thought we had a good chance to go to the College World Series, and I wanted to finish out my senior year," Smith said of why he returned to Clemson.

After he was drafted a second time by the Cubs, Smith hit a combined .280 between Class Low-A Boise and Class-A Peoria. He began 2008 in Peoria, batting .295 with 14 home runs in 84 games before being moved up to Daytona in July.

"He certainly put up good enough numbers in Peoria to get himself here," said Daytona manager Jody Davis. "I know he's glad to be home. He was on our club for the entire spring training, right until the end when they sent (Josh) Lansford down.

"I knew enough that he wanted to get back home and we're glad to have him."

Smith has been both the Midwest League Player of the Month and Player of the Week in 2008 and is now beginning to adapt to High-A ball. He hit a first-inning grand slam against Palm Beach on July 30 and has driven in 12 runs in 18 games since being promoted to Daytona, batting .258 overall with a five-game hit streak.

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