The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Thursday that they have activated Austin Barnes from the 10-day injured list and optioned Will Smith to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Barnes will only miss the minimum required 10 days after suffering a left groin strain against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 26. Smith, who is one of the top prospects in the Dodgers organization, was called up from Oklahoma City to replace him and get his first taste of big league action.
Smith actually fared quite well as Barnes’ replacement, hitting a walk-off home run to help beat the Philadelphia Phillies for his first career long ball and then going deep again in Wednesday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Overall in six games for the Dodgers, Smith hit .286/.348/.619 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored. Despite the success he had, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the plan all along was to send Smith back down when Barnes returned so he can continue to get regular at-bats as opposed to being a third catcher at the big league level.
It likely will not be the last Major League action Smith gets this season though as he would potentially be recalled if either Barnes or Russell Martin get injured again, or in September when rosters expand.
Barnes was swinging the bat well before going down with the injury, hitting .438/.571/.563 with a pair of doubles and four RBI in his last five games. Overall in 40 games this season, the 29-year-old is batting .231/.345/.393 with four home runs and 15 RBI.
He played two rehab games with High-A Rancho Cucamonga this past week and came out of it feeling healthy so he is expected to be in the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the San Francisco Giants to catch Clayton Kershaw.