(Sports Network) - Texas-born right-hander Burch Smith makes his major-league
debut on Saturday evening when the San Diego Padres visit Tropicana Field for
game two of a three-game interleague series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Smith, a 14th-round pick of the Padres in the 2011 draft, gets a shot in the
absence of starter Clayton Richard, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list
with an intestinal virus.
He actually takes the slot of Andrew Cashner, who would have started this game
but was pushed back to Tuesday when the Padres had a scheduled off day on
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Smith opened the season at Double-A San Antonio and
was 1-2 with a 1.15 earned run average in six starts - walking six batters and
striking out 37.
"He's got a big arm and a good, sound delivery," manager Bud Black said. "He's
thrown very well this season in Double-A. Our front office thinks very highly
of this guy."
Starting for the Rays is righty Jeremy Hellickson, who tries to end a three-
start winless drought.
The 2011 American League Rookie of the Year was 1-1 after defeating Oakland,
1-0, on April 20, but has since gone 0-1 in three starts while allowing 20
hits and 12 runs in 16 innings.
He also opened the season with a loss and two no-decisions in three starts,
and the Rays are 2-5 in the seven games he's pitched.
Hellickson has never faced the Padres.
On Friday, Ryan Roberts' go-ahead two-run single was part of a four-run
seventh inning that lifted Tampa Bay to a 6-3 win.
Matt Joyce tallied two hits and scored twice for Tampa Bay, which plated six
Rays starter Alex Cobb struck out 13 batters, but lasted just 4 2/3 innings
after surrendering three runs on five hits and two walks. Jake McGee (1-2)
tossed a scoreless seventh to pick up the win.
Will Venable and Carlos Quentin smacked solo homers for the Padres, who had
their four-game winning streak snapped.
The teams have split 12 games across four interleague series since 2002. San
Diego won two of three the last time they met, at Tampa Bay, in 2010.
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