Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/15/12
Newyork-yankees-seattle

The Seattle Mariners never quite saw first baseman Justin Smoak get it together in 2010 when the club moved starting pitcher Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers and got Smoak in return.

Last year saw Smoak get off to a good start, but family health issues took him out of the lineup for a bit, and things didn't get going after that.

He was hitting .189 this year when he was sent down in late July, and now he's back, the replacement for injured Mike Carp. Smoak is only 25, but if he doesn't start showing the Mariners something in the final month and a half of the season, it's likely Seattle will be looking for someone else to play first base in 2013.

When he was sent down, the Mariners told Smoak that they wanted him to shorten his swing. While the overall numbers didn't show much, he had five hits in his last 10 at-bats for Tacoma at the time of the recall.

"I wasn't really looking at stats, it was more of just trying to get to where I felt comfortable," Smoak said after reporting back to the Mariners. "It's still a work in progress. But these past couple of weeks are probably the best I've felt in a long time."

Manager Eric Wedge, who as late as Monday night wasn't willing to commit to Smoak being the replacement for Carp (left hip and groin), is looking to see if the swing is indeed shorter and Smoak is more of the impact bat the Mariners believe he should be.

"He worked hard down there," Wedge said. "I know he's excited to be back, and we're excited to have him back. That's why he went down, to do that. So, hopefully we'll see him a little bit better than when he went down."

Smoak, who had doubled just six times in the almost four months he was with the club earlier this season, doubled in his first at-bat and scored the Mariners' first run, then hit a game-tying, ninth-inning sacrifice fly in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

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