Thursday, 14 March 2024 14:51

Local Infielder Hoping To Follow In Derek Jeter’s Footsteps

Childhood photo of infielder Kevin Smith dressed in a New York Yankees uniform via Smith’s @KJS_4 X account. Childhood photo of infielder Kevin Smith dressed in a New York Yankees uniform via Smith’s @KJS_4 X account.

TAMPA — Kevin Smith, a native of East Greenbush and a graduate of Columbia High School, grew up watching New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter on TV. Now, Smith may have a chance to play at Jeter’s position in the Bronx. 

“Every kid growing up in New York grows up watching the Yankees,” Smith told YES Network’s Jack Curry on Monday. “I was one of those kids watching Jeter every night.”

Smith has been with the Yankees throughout spring training in Tampa, but a recent injury suffered by Oswald Peraza has increased Smith’s odds of making the team as a backup shortstop. Smith is among a handful of infielders with major-league experience vying for the job. So far this spring, he’s gotten 20 at-bats, the seventh most of any Yankee. Last week, he hit an RBI single against the New York Mets.

Smith is primarily known for his defensive abilities, and has said he can play short, third, or second base. A 2022 Baseball America scouting report said that Smith’s “power and defensive skill set could allow him to stick around as a utility player.”

“I’m just trying to have the best spring that I can, have the best day and do the best work that I can, day in and day out, and let the chips fall where they may,” Smith told Curry.

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