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September 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Justin Smoak has some mixed memories from Rangers Ballpark

Congratulations to Ichiro on being named the American League’s player of the week.
Chatted briefly with Justin Smoak in the dugout here in Arlington, Tex. and asked him whether he had fond memories of the place.
“I developed some bad habits here,” he said. “Some bad habits. I tried to pull the ball all the time.”
Not surprising, since the ball seems to soar out to right and right-center in a bit of a wind tunnel. Smoak is a switch-hitter, but primarily bats from the left side since most pitchers are right-handed, so pulling it into that wind tunnel would be an attraction.
Mariners manager Daren Brown told me Smoak had “some issues” to deal with when he was first sent down to Class AAA Tacoma in late July. Brown was only around another nine days or so before being hired to manage the Mariners.
But he saw enough to know what the problem was.
“We made some adjustments with him and some of the adjustments were made after I left,” Brown said. “He had a couple of good games while I was there but not as much solid contact as what you’d like to see from him. I know on one of our off-days I went down to watch him take early BP and he was a lot better.
“I’m always cautious with the young kids too. He had a good game yesterday. It doesn’t mean anything today. You’ve got to come out and do it again. That’s kind of my mentality with it, hopefully their mentality with it. But I liked what I saw yesterday. I know he’s working hard in the cage. And again, it’s just coming out and doing it everyday.
“For me, the power, I think young kids learn how to hit first and if they’ve got power, then we’ll see that. I don’t think it’s something where you can teach young kids to have power. They’ve got to learn how to hit first. He’s had some good numbers in the minor leagues, he got up here pretty quick and he probably tried to press a little bit and got away from some of the things that made him successful as a hitter. And it took him a month or two to figure that out and get back to who he is.”


Brown still will not confirm that Felix Hernandez will start Sunday’s season finale. The Mariners are concerned about Hernandez’s innings total, which is already at a career high 241 2/3 frames with tomorrow night’s outing still to come.
The Rangers, who are trying to figure out what to do with all that new cable TV money they’ve going to get — whether it’s a billion dollars, half that total, or something in between — have gone out and splurged on a new AL West championship banner. It will be unfurled tonight before the game.
Judging by the size of the TV deal, they might be putting up a few more banners before the decade it out.
Texas plans to rest some regulars as the season winds down, but David Pauley gets to face most of the mashers tonight, with Vlad Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler all in the lineup.
The lineups:
MARINERS
RF Player of the Week
2B Chone Figgins
DH Jose Lopez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
1B Justin Smoak
C Adam Moore
3B Matt Mangini
LF Greg Halman
SS Josh Wilson
RHP David Pauley
RANGERS
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
DH Vladimir Guerrero
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
1B Chris Davis
C Matt Treanor
CF Julio Borbon
C.J. Wilson

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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