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Greg Smith settling in with Lehigh Valley IronPigs again

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Greg Smith was a rock for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2013, leading the pitching staff by going 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 23 games and 14 starts. If his Spring Training performance thus far is any indication, he should be in the mix for a spot in the IronPigs’ starting rotation again this season.

Smith kicked off his 2014 campaign with a four-inning shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A squad, helping to lead the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A club to a 2-0 victory.

The 30-year-old lefty could stabilize a pitching staff that may feature young arms like Jesse Biddle, Jonathan Pettibone and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. He displays phenomenal control on his pitches and, though he is not a strikeout pitcher by any means, he will not give up any walks either—he walked just 19 batters in 98 innings last season.

Smith has spent time at the Major League level in his career, playing for the Oakland Athletics in 2008 and Colorado Rockies in 2010. He started 40 total games, compiling a record of 8-18 with an ERA of 4.51. Though he hopes to some day land on a Major League roster again, he likely recognizes that the chances of that happening are slim.

At this stage in his career, Smith does not have much to offer as a big-league pitcher. That reality was evident last season when the Phillies were forced to call up 15 different pitchers over the course of the year; Smith was not included in that group.

However, his experience at all levels could be valuable to the Phillies’ young crop of pitchers currently moving their way through the farm system. With guys like Biddle, Pettibone, Gonzalez and even Ethan Martin primed to make an impact with the Phillies soon, Smith could benefit from being something of a Crash Davis for the organization’s top prospects.

That is, assuming Smith is even the type who would be interested in undertaking such a role while taking the mound every fifth day for the IronPigs. One thing is for certain, however: Smith looks ready to have another big season in the Lehigh Valley.

Lou Musto covers the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for Examiner.com. You can follow him on Twitter @LouisMusto for all the latest Lehigh Valley IronPigs news.

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