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Wingnuts Sign Another Big League Arm

March 5, 2013 - American Association (AA) Wichita Wingnuts

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts signed right-handed pitcher Chris Smith on Tuesday.

Smith spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues with the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers from 2008-10, making 50 relief appearances with 52 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched. The veteran right-hander posted a 4.11 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 46.0 innings for Milwaukee in 2009 where he was a teammate of recently-signed Wingnuts' pitcher Mike Burns. Smith is expected to join Burns at the front of Wichita's starting rotation.

"Adding another guy to our rotation with Major League experience is very exciting," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "Having Chris to go along with (Mike) Burns and the others in our rotation should make our club fun to watch on a nightly basis. This level of experience is something we have never had on the pitching side of things. Chris will not only be a great leader on the field, but in the clubhouse as well."

Smith last pitched in 2011 for the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners) where he struck out 22 batters in 18.2 innings. In total, the Apple Valley, CA native has six years of experience at the Triple-A level, and three more in Double-A. Smith has excelled in a variety of roles during his career. In 241 minor league appearances--100 of them as a starting pitcher--Smith is 41-39 with 61 saves and a 3.90 ERA. The 6-foot, 190-pound Smith has 593 strikeouts versus 191 walks in 703.1 career frames (2.4 walks per nine innings). Smith has completed five seasons with at least 12 starts and an ERA below 4.30, and three others with 15 or more saves and an ERA below 3.60. Smith--who will be 32 on Opening Night--saved 26 games for the Nashville Sounds (Brewers) in 2010, which led the Pacific Coast League and tied for second overall in Triple-A.

Smith made his Major League debut pitching for the Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 21st, 2008. Smith struck out three and held the St. Louis Cardinals to one earned run during four innings of long-relief. Smith's first batter was Cardinals' outfielder Rick Ankiel, whom Smith struck out. Three days later, Smith earned his first Major League victory with two scoreless relief innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Smith's resume also includes strikeouts of Jose Bautista, Lance Berkman, Carlos Gonzalez, Alex Gordon, Troy Glaus, and Joe Mauer.

Smith was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round in 2002 out of the University of California, Riverside. During his final season with the Highlanders, Smith was 9-8 with a 2.91 ERA and set a school record with 127 strikeouts.

Smith gives the Wingnuts 10 players officially under contract for the 2013 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 4th.

2013 Wingnuts Signings C Kieran Bradford RHP Mike Burns LHP Anthony Capra SS Ryan Khoury LHP Daniel Schmidt RHP Bryce Shafer RHP Chris Smith RHP Kyle Wahl C Stephen Yoo 1B C.J. Ziegler

The 2013 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 16th against the Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring the life of bench coach Brian Rose will take place. For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.