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Mariners giving Smoak another look

Mariners giving Smoak another look

SEATTLE -- The Mariners aren't wasting much time getting another look at their future. Less than 24 hours after the Triple-A Tacoma team won the Pacific Coast League championship series in Memphis, the team recalled first baseman Justin Smoak, whom the team got in the Cliff Lee deal earlier this year.

Smoak, who began the season in the Texas Rangers' system and made it to the Majors in late April, had difficulty adjusting to big league pitching. He hit .159 (10-for-63) with two home runs and five RBIs for the Mariners and .198 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs overall between Seattle and Texas.

In Tacoma, the 23-year-old switch-hitter hit .271 with 23 runs, seven doubles, seven home runs, 25 RBIs in 35 regular-season games. He finished the regular season on an 11-game hitting streak with seven runs, four doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs and continued the hot hitting in the playoffs, batting .423 with a homer, six RBIs and 11 walks for a .595 on-base percentage in eight games.

Mariners interim manager Daren Brown put Smoak in the lineup in Saturday evening's game against the Rangers -- and, as coincidence would have it, Lee -- and will possibly play him a lot more over the final few weeks of the season.

"He struggled up here early, went down, and has had a really good run in the playoffs," Brown said. "Hopefully we'll see a different guy, a little bit more confident guy.

"He's a guy that we need to see. He's obviously a key part in a trade earlier and somebody that we need to see. I think it's like it is with a lot of young kids. You get them up here, they go through some anxiety and go through some confidence being shot down a little bit, and you want to get some of that back.

"I think he's been doing that in Triple-A and hopefully we'll see a more confident player this time around than what we saw. This kid's still young. If you look at where he's been the last couple years, he's probably been pushed along, but at the same time, he has a lot of talent and a lot of ability, and hopefully we'll see some of that come out in the next couple weeks."

Smoak said he's been doing a better job of relaxing lately at the plate and letting the game come to him.

"I feel a lot better as of late," Smoak said. "I'm trying to just play the game how it's supposed to be played. I feel like if I do that, good things will happen."

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