Claim Jason Smith; Hochevar to Omaha

Some roster changes in the Majors and Minors for the Royals today.

Straight from the Media Relations department: The Royals claimed infielder Jason Smith off of waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Smith will suit up and be with the team in Cleveland on Friday. To make room for Smith, Cortez was DFA.

Smith, 29, is a .228 hitter in 195 Major League games. He was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 23rd round of the 1996 June Free Agent Draft. Smith has played in the Cubs, Devil Rays, Tigers, Rockies, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks organizations. He was Toronto’s Rule 5 pick in 2006, and opened this season with the Blue Jays, batting .212 with four RBI in 27 games. The Blue Jays then designated Smith for assignment on May 14, where he was claimed by the Diamondbacks. He appeared in just two games with the D-backs before going on the D.L. with a burst appendix (ouch). In his most recent rehab assignment, Smith batted a combined .333 with four home runs and 15 RBI with Class AAA Tucson and Class A Visalia. Throughout his career, he’s been all over the infield: 59 games at second base, 50 at short, 39 at third base and seven at first.

In other news…we also just announced that Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 June Free Agent Draft, is heading to Triple-A Omaha from Class AA Wichita. Sounds like he is scheduled to make his Omaha debut on Sunday against the Iowa Cubs (check out the first game of the series tomorrow on RSTN). Hochevar appeared in 17 games this season at Wichita, compiling a 3-6 record with a 4.69 ERA. He currently leads the Texas League with 94 strikeouts. Hochevar started for the North squad at the 2007 Texas League All-Star Game and recently pitched one scoreless inning for the U.S. team in the 2007 All-Star Futures Game in San Fran.

Thoughts on the J. Smith pick up? Backup for Grud…Pena…Gordon…Gload/Shealy/Butler? And, this obviously puts Hochevar just one step away from the big leagues…do we see him pitching at the Major League level this year?


I have it on good authority (the sports guys across the newsroom) that Hochevar will be in the bigs by the end of August. And Smith might be good to have around as backup, but you’d had to see him encroach on German’s playing time now that German is swinging a bat of fire.

Hochevar should come up sooner. Change the Royals starting rotation to Meche, Bannister, Greinke, Soria, and Hochevar. The other starters are too unpredictable and too inconsistent. Put them in the bullpen.

I was looking at the Royals roster the other day, and I’m just wondering, how do you pronounce Joakim Soria’s first name?

Wah-Keem Soria

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