December 20, 2007 – Corey Smith Talks December 20, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Updated late 12/20…see below
Corey Smith Talks: Piscataway, NJ native Corey Smith has some big changes going on in his life. After all, he is the newest member of the Anaheim Angels organization, a newly married man and the big leagues are closer now than at any point in the last year.
“Yes, things are very good right now,” Smith said from his cell phone last night. “Things will be even better if I can make it to the big leagues.”
The big leagues have been in Smith’s sights for many years. The 25-year-old was a first-round draft choice by the Cleveland Indians in 2000 and their number-one prospect two years later.
“I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. I felt like I had to live up to the expectations. Now I don’t feel that way anymore.”
Smith reached Triple-A with the Indians before they traded him to the San Diego Padres for another former first-round pick, Jake Gautreau. A year later he was unemployed and signed with the Newark Bears, but was only in camp for a day.
“I got back to my locker and had two missed calls. I checked them and the (Chicago) White Sox were interested… I agreed to a deal that night.”
He laughs when I tell him that was one of the shortest Atlantic League stints ever. But he’d be back. After a full season with the White Sox’ Double-A affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama, Smith joined the Bears once again. This time he stuck.
“I had a good feeling that this would be a really good place to play and it was. I was able to stay at home, play baseball and I think that was a great combination,” Smith, who hit .274 with 19 home runs in 2007, said.
It was Smith’s bat that helped propel the Bears to their second Atlantic League Championship in six years, hitting .435 and playing sparkling defense.
“No matter where you win a championship it’s special. And I think we had the same guys for most of the season so that was a great thing for all us to be apart of,” Smith said.
Now Smith is taking his show on the road, headed across the country to play for the Angels.
“I actually got back from my honeymoon and had a few calls from teams on my cell phone. The Angels were one of them and things just worked out. They’re going to give me a chance to show what I’m capable of.”
Each day Smith wakes up and drives an hour to workout with his personal trainer. He then heads off to his off-season day job, giving baseball lessons.
Smith will battle former Atlantic League Player of the Year Jesse Hoorelbeke for a spot with the Angels this spring, and he says he’s ready. Ready to prove he belongs in the show. – Scott Stanchak
Two More Atlantic Leaguers Tied To Illegal Substances: When federal prosecutors unsealed the sworn testimony of former big leaguer Jason Grimsley earlier today, the names of two more Atlantic League alumni surfaced.
Both Allen Watson, a pitcher who appeared in one game for the Ducks in 2002 and former Bears outfielder Pete Incaviglia, who Grimsley said “always had a supply of amphetamines,” were mentioned in the documents.
Jose Canseco, also a former Newark Bears outfielder, was also mentioned in both these latest revelations and the Mitchell Report, but his name being associated with steroids is hardly newsworthy at this point. – Mike Ashmore