Rockies release Greg Smith, other minor leaguers

April 4, 2011 | 9:22 pm | 5  

Left-hander Greg Smith, who began the 2010 season as the Colorado Rockies No. 2 starter while filling in for injured Jeff Francis, was among the players released at the end of minor league spring training.

Smith, 27, made eight starts for the Rockies last year and went 1-2, 6.23. In 15 starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Smith went 2-5, 6.12. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp this year and 0-0, 10.38 in three Cactus League games. The Rockies acquired Smith along with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and closer Huston Street in the November 2008 deal that sent left fielder Matt Holliday to the A’s.

The Rockies also cut ties with reliever Craig Baker; catchers Johnny Bowden, Josh Powers and Ben Petralli (son of former big league catcher Geno Petralli), pitcher Chris Sampson, infielder Eric Duncan, outfielders Nathan Hines and Jason Botts.

Baker, 25, was the Rockies fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft out of Cal State Northridge and earned 33 saves in 2009 at high Class A Modesto. Bothered by elbow problems last year, Baker pitched four games at short-season Class A Tri-City before moving up to Double-A Tulsa where he went 1-1, 9.16 in 20 games.

Botts, 30, and Sampson, 31, had big league experience with the Rangers and Astros respectively but were unable to make the Colorado Springs roster. Neither could Duncan, 26, a former first-round pick of the Yankees and the 27th player taken overall in 2003, who played in the Yankees organization in Triple-A in 2007-2009 before signing with the Braves and playing at the Double-A level last year.

Bowden, 26, began his career in the Rockies organization after being drafted in the 41st round in 2007. So did Powers, 22, signed as a non-drafted free agent last year, and Hines, 25, drafted in the 50th round in 2009.

5 Comments »

  • Swam | April 4, 2011 | 11:44 pm

    Tough to see Greg not make it to the next level. Hopefully he can catch on elsewhere. He always seemed like a hard worker.

  • James | April 5, 2011 | 10:10 am

    Is Jason Van Kooten still with the team and if so will he be at AA or AAA this year? Thanks.

  • Matt | April 5, 2011 | 10:36 am

    Jason VK will be in extended spring training.

  • Jack Etkin | April 5, 2011 | 10:47 am

    Van Kooten is being converted from a second baseman to an outfielder and is in extended spring training.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | April 5, 2011 | 9:03 pm

    Wow, this changes what I think of the Holliday trade.

    Ha.

    Tough for Smith. Too bad it didn’t work out better for him here.