Smoak pushing through rough spell at plate

Smoak pushing through rough spell at plate

CHICAGO -- Justin Smoak hasn't put up big offensive numbers since replacing an injured Mike Carp, but the Mariners first baseman continues to stay positive as he works on his swing from both sides of the plate.

Smoak is 5-for-29 (.172) with a home run in his first nine games since his recall from Triple-A Tacoma, but isn't putting too much weight on those numbers.

"I feel great," he said before going 0-for-3 with a walk in Friday's loss. "The last couple days I've hit the ball well with nothing really to show for it, but I just have to keep having good at-bats. Over a long time, you keep having good at-bats and hopefully good things will happen for you."

"I've seen signs," said manager Eric Wedge. "He's got a little different approach from the left side. I see a shorter swing, a little more direct swing. He's having longer at-bats, fouling pitches off that before he wasn't getting to. I'm optimistic for him."

Smoak has kept his head up through a tough season and has played strong defense on a team that prides itself on the glove work. But he knows he needs to produce with the bat and that there's no better time than now.

"This is a good place to hit," Smoak said of U.S. Cellular Field. "The ball flies here, especially when it's hot. Hopefully, we can do some damage here in the next couple days."