The fastest-rising pitching prospect in the Padres' organization took another leap forward Wednesday, as the club announced 23-year-old Burch Smith will make his major-league debut this weekend. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander, currently with Double-A San Antonio, will be promoted in time to start Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Smith will provide an instant power arm to what, since Clayton Richard went on the disabled list Sunday, has been a four-man rotation. Through six starts this season, Smith has a sparking 1.15 ERA. In 31 1/3 innings, he's allowed 17 hits and just six walks while striking out 37. Opposing hitters have been stymied to the tune of a .155 batting average. "Our front office, our evaluators and our minor-league people think very highly of this guy," Padres manager Bud Black said after Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Marlins. "They think he's the guy that’s ready right now to make some starts in Clayton's absence." Edinson Volquez will start Friday's series opener against the Rays. He'll be followed by Smith on Saturday, Eric Stults on Sunday, Andrew Cashner on Tuesday and Jason Marquis on Wednesday. Cashner and Marquis have each gone seven-plus innings in their most recent outings. Cashner pitched Monday, while Marquis tossed a team season-high eight innings Wednesday. "We wanted to give (Cashner) a little extra rest," Black said. "We wanted to make sure that we split up Smith and Cash, with Stults in between them. After Jason’s outing today, it was good to give him a few extra days rest."
Burch Smith to start Saturday for Padres
San Diego Union-Tribune | May 9