June 23, 2010 1:03:00 PM
DENVER -- Seth Smith is like any major leaguer that wants to play every game.
But relegated to a reserve role with an occasional start, the objective of the Colorado Rockies'' outfielder is to contribute whenever he''s called upon
The 27-year old Smith, who played at Ole Miss from 2002-04, has produced when given the chance to play as he''s tied for the team lead in homers (10) and tied for second in RBIs (31).
He''s among the team leaders in the power categories for the Rockies (37-33) despite playing in only 59 of the 70 games, not playing since Saturday and not starting since Friday.
"It''s hard at times, but you learn to adjust and you learn how to take it in stride and do what you''re called upon to do whether it''s start a game or come in in late innings," Smith said. "You try to do your best and give 100 percent and hope for a good outcome."
Smith, who is three weeks into sporting a beard, .didn''t get to play Sunday, but his wife, Lindsay, and 14-month old daughter, Sienna, helped him enjoy Fathers'' Day.
The left-handed swinging Smith, who is batting .272, enjoyed the outcome Saturday when he homered and had three RBIs to help the Rockies outslug the Milwaukee Brewers 8-7 at Coors Field.
He entered the game in the top of the seventh inning as part of a double switch and tied the score 4-4 in the bottom of the frame when he hit a two-run homer.
He followed that with a two-out, RBI bloop single to left in the eighth.
"He''s thrived on coming off the bench and doing special things for this team dating back to early last season," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "He''s terrific in that role although we''ve also tried to implement him in a lot of situations that involves getting him even more at-bats. He''s a big-moment type guy and he takes great at-bats in situations like the ones he was exposed to (Saturday) night.
"This is a guy that is very capable of moments like that and taking big at-bats like that. He''s working on some things to enhance himself as far as some of the off speed he''s seeing because he''s getting a lot more of that than he got a year ago."
The home run was estimated at 418 feet as Smith connected on a 1-1 offering from Milwaukee reliever Carlos Villanueva for a no-doubter into the second deck in right field.
Colorado trailed 4-1 going to the bottom of the seventh, but tied it on a homer by Miguel Olivo and Smith''s blast.
The Rockies were limited to just three hits in six innings against Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo, but Smith''s late-inning heroics had Coors Field rocking.
"It was fun," Smith said of delivering in the clutch with the home run. "It was a big spot. We were down a couple of runs and whenever you can tie it up and give yourself a chance to win is always nice.
"We''ve got a lot of guys that can do different things. If it wasn''t me it would have been somebody else. Hopefully we''ll have guys step up the rest of the season and we''ll make the playoffs."
Smith crushed the home run and he said it was one of his hardest-hit balls of the season.
"Any time you barrel up a fastball at the right angle and get out in front it''s usually going to be a hit or fall in somewhere," Smith said. "I was able to catch it in the right spot and hit it out of the park."
Smith is vying for playing time in a crowded outfield that includes left fielder Ryan Spilborghs, center fielder Carlos Gonzalez, right fielder Brad Hawpe and reserve Melvin Mora.
Smith started in left Friday when Spilborghs moved to center for an injured Gonzalez. He replaced Mora in left Saturday.
"I''d like to play every day,'' Smith said. "I want to be in the starting lineup every day. With the team we have, we have a lot of guys at a lot of different positions that are playing well and so it''s up to me to keep myself in the lineup if I want to be there. I''ve got to produce and that''s what I''m trying to do."
Smth has not only produced offensively when called upon, but he''s played well defensively in left field, according to Tracy.
"This guy, to me, is a very solid average defensive player in left field," Tracy said. "I didn''t see him a lot because I wasn''t even a member of the organization at the time, but my understanding is he''s come a long, long way defensively to get to the point he''s gotten to. He deserves a lot of credit for a lot of hard work that he''s put in and the passion that he displays towards his job. If he continues to do it in that manner he''s going to keep getting better as a baseball player."
Smith hopes to keep getting better so he can contribute like he did this past Saturday more often.
2. Howland likes MSU's non-conference schedule COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Walters column: Prep football season coming closer LOCAL COLUMNS