SEATTLE -- While Justin Smoak has gone just 2-for-23 in the past seven games going into Tuesday's game with the Tigers, manager Eric Wedge continues expressing faith in the Mariners first baseman.
Smoak was hitting .175 with three home runs and 10 RBIs through his first 27 games, and Wedge has dropped him to seventh in the batting order in the hope of easing some of the pressure. But Wedge said Tuesday there's no need for the switch-hitter to focus just on one side of the plate or the other at this point in his career.
"It's double duty for switch-hitters," Wedge said. "And you talk about a guy like Smoaker that has some power, too, and you pile on some expectations early, that all comes with it. What he needs to understand is all he needs to do is go out and put up good at-bats, not try to get hits or hit the ball over the fence, just put up good at-bats like he had last night and eventually the results come.
"But you try to do too much, you try to fast-forward it, and that's where you get in trouble. It's easy to do for young players because you want it to be there yesterday. That's the biggest mistake you can make. All I want him to do is slow down, just hit and put up good at-bats and let that define itself as it may. I trust enough in his ability and mindset that it'll work."
As for focusing on just one side of the plate and abandoning his switch-hitting approach?
"He's nowhere near that," said Wedge. "This guy is going to be a good switch-hitter."