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Smith takes Hamels yard twice in Jays win
04/06/2014 5:06 PM ET

During his two-plus years as a pro baseball player, Dwight Smith Jr. has run into a few Major League hurlers.

One of his first bouts with a big leaguer came in Spring Training last year when he squared off against Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera. In that contest, Smith -- like many batters before him -- had his lumber shattered by Rivera's cutter.

On Sunday, the 21-year-old got another cutter from a Major League All-Star, and unlike in his showdown with Rivera, his bat proved sturdy enough to handle it.

Toronto's first-round pick (53rd overall) in the 2011 Draft took rehabbing left-hander Cole Hamels deep twice Sunday in Class A Advanced Dunedin's 5-2 victory over Clearwater.

"It felt great," Smith said. "It's a good moment to hit off a big league pitcher. It always is. … Luckily, I just connected today."

The multi-home run game was the first of Smith's career and was comprised of a pair of solo shots. The left-handed hitter finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs.

It was the second time in the past two seasons that Smith had shined against a rehabbing big league All-Star. On May 9, 2013, Smith collected a triple and a single in two at-bats off Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who was fresh off finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young balloting.

Smith, son of the eight-year Major League veteran by the same name, said having a father who played in the bigs helps limit the intimidation factor when he does face hurlers like Hamels.

"When I faced Mariano, I felt star struck. I couldn't help that," Smith said. "For the most part, though, it helped me. … I just really take it as just another guy throwing."

Smith's first homer came on a second-pitch fastball that Hamels left up in the zone -- precisely the pitch the Dunedin outfielder was looking for. The second came off what Smith perceived as a hung cutter.

"He worked the count on me," Smith said. "He threw me all of his pitches. I laid off some and fouled off some others, then he hung me a cutter. That's the one I connected on."

Smith, a 5-foot-11 left-handed hitter, is in his first season with Dunedin and is 9-for-19 in his first four games. The 21-year-old spent last season with Class A Lansing, where he hit .284 with seven homers, 25 steals and a .752 OPS.

Hamels threw four innings in the rehab start, allowing just the two earned runs on three hits. The left-hander struck out four and walked none.

Toronto's No. 2 prospect Daniel Norris logged five one-run innings. The left-hander allowed five hits and struck out five in his 2014 debut. The 2011 second-round pick made one start with Dunedin at the end of 2013, putting together five scoreless frames for the Blue Jays.



This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.