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Rosario, Smyly earn MLB roster spots04/01/2012 8:28 PM ET
By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com
Two of baseball's top 100 prospects learned they will be starting the season with their respective Major League clubs Sunday.
Tigers left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly (MLB.com's No. 82-ranked prospect) was told that he will be Detroit's fifth starter in the rotation, while Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario (No. 63) found out he will be back up starting backstop Ramon Hernandez.
Smyly, the 2011 Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, earned the promotion with a solid spring. In 12 2/3 innings over four appearances, he allowed just four earned runs for a 2.84 spring ERA. He also surrendered seven hits and five walks while striking out 10 batters. Three of the four earned runs came in his last outing against the Cardinals, but the Tigers appeared impressed that the lefty limited the damage, especially after being struck by a comebacker early in the outing.
"I was hoping for the best," Smyly told MLB.com. "But I didn't know if I was getting sent down. When [manager Jim Leyland] told me, it was a big relief."
The callup comes for MLB.com's No. 3 Tigers prospect after a highly impressive first year in the pros in 2011. He went 7-3 with a 2.58 ERA and 77 strikeouts over 14 starts for Class A Advanced Lakeland to start his Minor League campaign before being called up to Double-A Erie. With the SeaWolves, the Arkansas product's numbers got even better. He went 4-3 in eight games -- including seven starts -- with a 1.18 ERA and 53 strikeouts.
But Smyly said he knew he still had work to do if he was going to make the big club this season.
"I think from the beginning I felt I had a shot," Smyly told MLB.com. "I knew I was capable of getting the job done, but everyone else is probably capable of getting the job done. So it was just knowing that you can handle it and just going out there and showing to everyone else that you're able to do it."
After being chosen for the Futures Game during the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League, Rosario also had a great spring. The No. 3 Rockies prospect batted .391 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. In six of his 19 games, he amassed multiple hits.
The catcher from the Dominican Republic hit .249 with 21 home runs and 48 RBIs in 102 games with Double-A Tulsa and was named a Texas League All-Star. He made his Major League debut with the Rockies on Sept. 6. He played in 19 Major League games total last year, going 11-for-54 (.204) with three home runs and eight RBIs in his first trip to "The Show."
"Defensively is the thing over the last several days that I've been most impressed with," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told MLB.com. "He's really cleaned up a lot of things from earlier in the spring. There was some sloppiness reminiscent of some of the things we saw in September last year.