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Padres call up Burch Smith

The San Diego pitching prospect made his major-league debut on Saturday.

J. Meric

The San Diego Padres promoted propsect Burch Smith to the major leagues on Saturday, optioning Brad Boxberger to the minors to clear room for the starting pitcher.

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San Diego only had four starting pitchers on the roster with Clayton Richard on the disabled list, so the team called up Smith to start on Saturday. The rookie made his major-league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays, struggling in his first appearance. The right-hander only threw one inning, allowing six runs on five hits.

Despite his ineffectiveness, the Padres have announced that Smith will stay in the rotation and receive a second start next week.

Smith pitched very well in Double-A this season, which prompted the promotion. The 23 year-old owned an impressive 1.15 ERA after his first six starts. Smith struck out 37 batters and only walked six in his 31.1 innings pitched.

John Sickels of Minorleagueball.com graded Smith as a C+ prospect before the season began, ranking Smith as the team's 17th-best prospect. Sickels also said that Smith was a break-through candidate in Double-A this season, and is often overlooked in the Padres deep farm system.

The Padres sent the relief pitcher Boxberger to Triple-A to clear an roster spot for Smith. Boxberger only made two relief appearances for San Diego during his stint with the team, but did not allow a run and struck out five hitters over 3.2 innings.

Smith also had to be placed on the team's 40-man roster, so the Padres designated relief pitcher Fautino De Los Santos for assignment.

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