LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Since being sent home from Arizona in March, Riley Smith has been working out waiting for when he would get a chance to once again prove he could be on a major league roster.
“I am ready to pitch in a game now,” Smith said. “I pitched last week. I pitch every 5th day. I think some wrote off this season like there wasn’t going to be one. I never took it for granted that we were going to play. I made sure I stayed ready.”
Nearing the end of Spring Training the first go around Smith was named to the Arizona Diamondbacks 40 man roster. He feels confident in his spot on the team and knows he just has to go in and prove he is ready to go.
There are a lot of questions on how the season will work. teams are being allowed to bring in 60 players with 30 being named to the opening day roster the rest will be ready to go if anyone leaves the main roster for injury of test positive for COVID-19.
“We are going to have testing every other day and everything has been put in place to make sure we are safe,” Smith said. “I do feel safe and don’t feel threatened at all. If I got it I got it and I would just take it from there. We are wearing face masks except when we are playing. We are ready to play ball. We are tired f sitting around waiting. We are just going to do what we can to get it done.”
The 60-game season will test teams early and teams will have to make quick adjustments. Take for instance the Washington Nationals. The 2019 World Champions would not have made the playoffs after the first 60 games last year.
“It is going to be about who comes out hot and who can keep it going through 60 games,” Smith said. “Sixty games is over like that. It is not even half a season. it goes by quick. The longest months of the year are July, August, September and we are already there. "
Playing with no fans will also offer a challenge and if Smith gets called up at any point could be different than what he imagined.
“I have contemplated how it will feel if I make my debut this year with no fans,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t matter because if I make my debut this year I will be blessed. it is going to be weird. I have envisioned this thought of stepping on the mound for the first time in a big league stadium with the crowd. It is going to be different and I just hope my family could be there.”