Smoak starts rehab, eyes strong finish in bigs

Smoak starts rehab, eyes strong finish in bigs

SEATTLE -- Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak began his rehab assignment Monday night with Triple-A Tacoma.

Manager Eric Wedge said that Smoak, who fractured his nose on Aug. 12, will play in the field for six innings Monday night and probably fill in at the designated hitter slot on Tuesday.

Wedge said he's excited to get his starting first baseman back on the diamond.

"I still think he's still working to be -- I think it's obvious-- the big league hitter he's going to become," he said. "I'm disappointed that we've missed as much time as we have because I know he would have been further along. That's why I'm anxious to get him back here and let him play for a month."

Smoak, who is on the 15-day disabled list and is eligible to be activated at any time, hit just .141 in July and is 10 for his last 75 (.133).

"Mentally, it's just been a crazy year from a personal standpoint," Smoak said on Saturday. "Just one of those things you got to play through. Hopefully, I stay healthy for the rest of the year and finish strong."

Chone Figgins, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 2 with a hip flexor, should start a rehab stint within the week, Wedge said. Figgins is hitting .188 this season through 81 games.