Wedge poses offseason challenge to Smoak

Wedge poses offseason challenge to Smoak

SEATTLE -- It's been a season of struggles for Justin Smoak at the plate, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the first baseman has his work cut out for him in the offseason.

Smoak is hitting just .189 in 113 games with an on-base percentage of .312. The switch-hitter's 101 strikeouts are the third most on the team, even though he spent about three weeks in Triple-A Tacoma starting in late July.

Wedge called it an important offseason for Smoak, as he needs to get stronger and work on his swing. The Mariners skipper has already had discussions regarding this winter with some players and will break down Smoak's swing before he departs after the season.

"We just need to make sure we get him on the right path," Wedge said. "We're working through what we're going to do right now, but we need to utilize the time in the offseason for him to develop better habits mechanically at home plate.

"The first part of that is for him to have a firm understanding of what he needs to do to keep his swing together. His upper half and lower half don't work together like they should. When they are on line together, then you see the bat speed, you see the power, you see the recognition of pitches much better."

Wedge said the type of adjustments Smoak needs to make are tough to implement during the season because of the desire to compete and succeed at the same time.