Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/24/12

First baseman Justin Smoak was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma, with the Mariners calling up Mike Carp.

Smoak is hitting .189 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI and was mired in an 0-for-16 slump that included nine strikeouts.

"When you think about Justin and you think about how difficult it is once you're really in a rut here at the big-league level, to try to get out of it is tough. It's really tough," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told 'Brock and Salk' on 710 radio. "As we said to him here in the room last night, 'Sometimes, Justin, you take a step backwards to take two steps forward.'"

Smoak was informed of the decision by Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge following Monday night's game.

"I think everybody has seen what's going on," Smoak said. "It's one of those things where you go down there and get your work in and get back to where I was a couple months ago."

Smoak's horrid numbers are even more startling considering he hit five home runs in a 10-day stretch at one point earlier this season en route to winning AL player of the week honors.

"I believe in Justin Smoak. I believe he's going to be a part of this," Wedge said. "But right now we feel this is the right thing to do for him."

It's the second major move by Seattle in as many days, following Monday's stunning trade of Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees. The Mariners were expected to make another move to fill his roster spot.

Zduriencik declined to put a timetable on Smoak's return.

"He needed a change of scenery," Zduriencik said. "He just needed to clear his head."

Carp has been on the disabled list with a lingering shoulder injury, but had been playing first base at Tacoma in the event the Mariners decided to send Smoak down. He hit just .220 in 15 rehab games.

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