LINCOLN — The Saltdogs are proud to announce that slugging infielder and international star Curt Smith's contract was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals organization Friday.
Smith, 27, returns to the MLB franchise that drafted him in 2008 out of the University of Maine. The Curacao native spent three years in the Cards system, earning Appalachian League player of the year honors and reaching Double-A ball, before joining the 'Dogs in 2011.
As a power utility man for Lincoln in 2011, Smith hit .335 with nine home runs and 48 RBI in 78 games. That production earned him a contract with the Miami Marlins in 2012, where he hit .261 with nine home runs and 48 RBI over 96 contests for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns.
Smith has really impressed on the international circuit for the Netherlands. He led the Dutch squad to the 2011 Baseball World Cup title while earning MVP honors, and hit .321 in the 2013 World Baseball Classic to help guide his national team to the semi-finals.
Smith began the 2013 campaign at the Double-A level for the Minnesota Twins before returning to the Saltdogs last July. He hit .316 with five long balls and 27 RBI in 49 games during his second stint in Lincoln.
The affable infielder will probably best be remembered by Saltdogs fans for his two-out, two-strike, three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th inning that brought Lincoln a remarkable July victory over Sioux Falls last year.
Since 2001, 46 times has a Major League club signed a Saltdogs player. Lincoln sold five players to big league organizations during the 2013 campaign, matching the American Association record set by Lincoln in 2011.