Smith still recovering from finger injury

FRISCO, Texas - Outfielder Tim Smith was promoted to Double-A Frisco on Friday afternoon, and Lone Star Dugout was able to speak with him after he went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first Texas League game.

Outfielder Tim Smith may be in the midst of his breakout season.

The Rangers' seventh round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, Smith began his season by hitting .333 with five doubles and four home runs in 35 games with the High-A Bakersfield Blaze.

Smith got off to an incredible start, as he was hitting .386 before landing on the disabled list and missing 17 days with a finger injury. The Toronto native slumped upon his return, but he did go 3-for-8 with a double and a home run in the two games prior to his promotion.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefty has solid tools across the board. His hit tool is strong, and he has good raw power that hasn't completely translated into game situations yet. Smith even has solid speed for a guy his size—he had 21 stolen bases last season and he's got eight in nine attempts this year.

Smith made his Double-A debut with the Frisco RoughRiders on Friday night. The 22-year-old [Smith turns 23 on June 14] was 0-for-3 with a walk, and he is 2-for-11 with one double and one walk since his promotion.

Lone Star Dugout caught up with the outfielder just after his first Texas League game.

Jason Cole: Can you talk a bit about being up here with the Double-A club in Frisco now?

Tim Smith: It was exciting news. Arriving here and then coming to the ballpark, it was pretty cool to see this after hearing everyone talk about how nice this field is. Just the change of weather too. It was a cool atmosphere to be in. I was just real excited today.

Cole: Is this about what you expected when you heard people talk about Frisco?

Smith: It's actually more than I expected. Looking out at the crowd today, there was just tons and tons of people. And everyone was supportive. All the facilities are top-notch. It just kind of blew my mind. I'd heard about things, but once you see it first-hand, it's pretty crazy.

Cole: You had been hitting well all year in Bakersfield. What are your thoughts on the way you were playing there before you got the promotion?

Smith: In Bakersfield, again kind of like last year, it was just kind of trying to find myself as a player. Not so much trying different things, but just trying to be consistent with one thing rather than having a certain approach at the plate or doing this or doing that.

You go through ups-and-downs. Towards the end in Bakersfield there, I was working on how to get out of trouble at the plate. When you're in trouble, you've got to make adjustments. That was the main thing. Just being consistent. But I was happy with how I played in Bakersfield.

Cole: When did you find out that you were coming up to Frisco and what did they say to you?

Smith: I didn't even know until last night after the game. Boo [Bakersfield manager Steve Buechele] called me in. He gives me stuff for my home run trot. Everyone calls me ‘transformer' because they say I run like a robot. So I hit a home run last night, and of course all the way around the bases, they're giving me the noise.

So after the game he called me into the office and sat me down. He was like, ‘Smitty. Tomorrow morning we're going to work on this home run trot.' I was like, ‘Are you serious? Get out of here.' And he said, ‘Yeah, well, [Mike] Micucci can work on it with you while you're in Frisco.' I just got a big smile. He got me.

Cole: I know you've had a finger injury that has limited you lately and even got you on the disabled list for awhile. How is that going right now? Is it holding you back at all?

Smith: It was kind of tough at first once I got back into the lineup in Bakersfield. I had to swing with a bunch of tape on, and I had to use a thumb guard on my pinkie. It was uncomfortable. I'm still being too dominant with my bottom hand and I'm rolling over.

I think I've just got to trust my hand that it's good to go now and get through balls. I think the past couple of weeks since I came back, that has been my problem. I'm just kind of cautious of it. But I've got to trust that it's better.

Cole: Are you wearing the thumb guard anymore?

Smith: I didn't wear the thumb guard yesterday in San Jose and I didn't wear it tonight. I'm not sure, but I've got to get used to being comfortable without it again.

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