Former Pitt baseball standout Kevan Smith was called up by the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday after spending a month and a half with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. The White Sox optioned catcher Alfredo Gonzalez to Charlotte on Monday, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Gonzalez had been serving as Omar Narvaez’s backup while Smith was on the disabled list.
The #WhiteSox have recalled catcher Kevan Smith from Class AAA Charlotte and have added right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya from Charlotte to serve as the 26th man on the active roster for today’s doubleheader at Minnesota.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 5, 2018
Narvaez previously fell behind Welington Castillo in the pecking order of White Sox backstops, but Castillo was suspended for 80 games in late May for performance-enhancing drug use. That prompted the team to promote Narvaez and call up Gonzalez in Smith’s absence.
Smith arrived in time for Chicago’s doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, but he only played in the second game. He made the most of it, though, going 1-for-4 at the plate and batting in a run that helped the White Sox to a 6-3 win against their AL Central rival.
Last season, Smith saw his first significant action in the majors, as he played in 87 games for the White Sox. During that span, he hit .283, batted in 30 runs and added four home runs.
Smith’s baseball career took off during his time at Pitt, where he originally started at quarterback for the the football team before being supplanted at the position by Pat Bostick in 2007. He caught on quickly with Joe Jordano’s squad, though, as he went on to compile a .375 career batting average, 123 RBI and 19 home runs during his time with the Panthers.
That was enough to catch the eye of the White Sox, who selected Smith in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB draft, and he’s rewarded their faith in him since then by steadily climbing up the ranks of their system and earning significant playing time at the major league level.
With Smith back in the majors, it should be interesting to see if he’s able to build on last year’s success and perhaps carve himself out a more regular role with the White Sox.