9/16/2013 7:14 P.M. ET
Gyorko expecting big turnout in return to home turf
Ex-W.Va. star says more than 1,000 from hometown may visit PNC Park
By George Von Benko / Special to MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Morgantown, W.Va., native and former West Virginia University star Jedd Gyorko is enjoying a strong rookie season with the Padres, and the Mountain State is expected to turn out in big numbers to support him this week at PNC Park.
As many as 1,400 may make the trip to Pittsburgh over the course of the four-game series with the Pirates.
Gyorko had 106 hits, including 18 home runs, and 47 RBIs entering Monday. He hit .404 in three seasons with the Mountaineers and is a legend in Morgantown baseball circles.
"It's going to be interesting to see how many show up," Gyorko said. "Morgantown is home for me and we're like all one big family, so when something like this happens, they definitely gather and give me a lot of support."
Playing the Pirates in Pittsburgh will be a memorable experience for the University High graduate.
"It's going to be exciting to walk out there at PNC Park and play," Gyorko said. "When I was young, this is where I would come up and watch some games when they first built it. I was excited to come up here and watch games, so it's definitely going to be fun and exciting to play here.
"Yes, I was a Pirates fan growing up. But the day that the Padres drafted me, I pushed the Pirates off to the side. It's good to see them doing so well and I wish them well, but I want to beat them every time we play them."
Padres manager Bud Black was pleased to hear that fans are turning out for Gyorko.
"Isn't that great?" Black said. "Are they all going to be wearing Gyorko jerseys or T-shirts or Padre gear? I think that's great. I asked Jedd a couple of days ago what he was expecting. Usually you hear 20 or 30 [people] and he said, 'Well, maybe 1,500,' and I said, 'What?' We'll see how that plays out."
Medica, Fuentes, Smith proud of Double-A title
PITTSBURGH -- Double-A San Antonio earned its 13th Texas League title with a 5-0 win over Arkansas in Game 5 of the Texas League Championship Series on Sunday afternoon in Little Rock, Ark.
Padres first baseman Tommy Medica was called up Sept. 11 from San Antonio, where he batted .296.
"It was awesome," Medica said. "They had a great pitching staff there and they got some timely hitting, especially in the last game and the game before."
Outfielder Reymond Fuentes was called up Aug. 26. He played in San Antonio before moving up to Triple-A. The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season, batting .330/.413/.448 with six home runs, 43 RBIs and 35 stolen bases in 107 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
"Being over here and reading on Twitter that they won it all was really exciting," Fuentes said. "Being a part of that team was an honor, just playing with all those good guys, our staff and just having fun at the field, it was a great year and it paid off really well."
Right-hander Burch Smith was plucked out of San Antonio on May 8. Smith was a 14th-round pick by the Padres in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He made 26 starts for Class A Lake Elsinore last year and six for San Antonio this year. He posted a 3.85 ERA for the Storm and a 1.15 ERA for the Missions.
"I'm real excited for my former teammates," Smith said. "I'm glad that they were able to go all the way."
• Burch Smith on Sunday became just the third rookie pitcher in Padres history to record at least seven shutout innings with 10 or more strikeouts. He joined Dave Roberts, who tossed nine shutout innings with 10 whiffs Sept 16, 1970, against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, and Dan Spillner, who also posted nine scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts Sept. 11, 1974, vs. the Astros.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.