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Newcomer Smith excited for fresh start with A's

MESA, Ariz. -- As if they don't have enough of them, the A's welcomed in another new face Saturday morning. Right-hander Chad Smith, claimed off waivers from Detroit on Thursday, arrived at Hohokam Stadium bright and early for his first day in green and gold.

Smith actually wore the colors as early as age 5, when his San Francisco-based aunt gifted him an A's shirsey. Just days ago, his mom recovered a photo of him wearing it. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

"I was just excited to come to a new team, a team that wanted me and saw something in me that maybe some other teams didn't," said Smith. "Obviously, the A's have been successful for a long time, and how they go about it is a little different, but they're good at what they do. They've taken some guys that maybe other teams overlooked and turned them into some really good players. That's exciting on the development side."

Designated for assignment by the Tigers on Tuesday after throwing just two bullpens in front of their coaches, Smith played the waiting game for two days, before Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski alerted him he had been claimed by Oakland.

"I was very excited," Smith said.

The right-handed sinkerballer grew up in Southern California, where he also remained for college to play at USC alongside A's reliever Ryan Cook, and says he was "somewhat of an A's fan" because of his many family ties to the Bay Area.

The 25-year-old has a 2.68 ERA in three Minor League seasons and posted a 5.40 ERA in his 10 appearances with the Tigers last year. He's expected to throw his first bullpen in front of A's staff on Sunday and face live hitting sometime next week.

"I've heard nothing but good things about the organization, just everyone involved, and that's something that's very encouraging," Smith said.

Jane Lee is a reporter for
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