Wedge keeps confidence in Smoak

Wedge keeps confidence in Smoak

SEATTLE -- The struggles continue at the plate for first baseman Justin Smoak, but the confidence Mariners manager Eric Wedge has in him has not wavered.

"Being a switch-hitter, first of all, is harder, first and foremost," Wedge said. "In regard to being short [with his swing], that's just more of a fundamental thing with him. He has times where he's short to the ball and you see him drive it, other times he gets long. That's one of the reasons he's having some issues right now. It's just about solidifying that swing and being more consistent with it."

Smoak has hobbled to a .178 average out of the gates, with just three home runs and 10 RBIs. Additionally, his slugging percentage is just .271. But Wedge said it's part of the byproduct of being expected to contribute in the middle of a young lineup.

"It's like anything else when you're in a pressure situation or you're up against it or you're feeling it a little bit," Wedge said. "That's when you have to back off the gas a little bit and you have to not be in such a hurry to get hits, to have success.

"You've got to keep it in perspective, you've got to understand where you're at with everything. If you can go up there with that kind of heartbeat and you can go up there developing a little bit of confidence along the way, like he will, then next thing you know you start baby-stepping and have success. And it keeps domino-ing from there."