Harmony, Pennsylvania native Kevan Smith, whose roots run deep in Western Pennsylvania, donned a red, No. 52 Atlanta Braves uniform and squared off against his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in the second of a three-game series on Friday night.
He contributed two hits, two runs scored and an RBI in the Braves’ 20-1 rout of last-place Pittsburgh.
After being traded by Tampa Bay to Atlanta for cash considerations on Wednesday afternoon, Smith made his first start for his new team and went 2-4 with a pair of singles and a walk. The second, which plated a run, came off of Pirates middle infielder Wilmer Difo.
Smith has five hits in eight at bats so far this season, good for a .375 average. Factor in two walks and his on base percentage is up to .444.
Behind the dish, Smith oversaw lights-out pitching performances from Ian Anderson, Josh Tomlin and Jacob Webb, who combined to scatter eleven hits over nine innings of one-run baseball.
With fellow Atlanta catchers Jeff Mathis and Alex Jackson on assignment in the minor leagues, Smith is in position for even more at bats with the Braves at the Major League level.
Jackson was placed on the 10-day injured list on May 2 with a strained hamstring. He began a rehab stint with the Triple A Gwinnett Spinners on Friday, the same night Smith made his Braves debut. The 38-year-old Mathis was designated for assignment on Wednesday. He had failed to reach safely in nine plate appearances with Atlanta this season. He is currently alongside Jackson with the Spinners.
Smith, who just joined his fourth different major league team, played quarterback for the Pitt football team as a quarterback from 2007 to 2008 under then head coach Dave Wannstedt before switching to baseball full time upon losing his starting job. He was a catcher and designated hitter for the Panthers baseball squad, earning All-Big East honors twice in three seasons.