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September 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Justin Smoak rejoins Mariners, will bat fifth tonight

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Justin Smoak made it back into the lineup and will now have just under four weeks to salvage something from a difficult 2011 season. He’ll be the DH tonight as he gets used to playing again, with Mike Carp still at first base.
Smoak was in good spirits down in the clubhouse today here in Oakland. He showed me the plastic flap that will cover the left side of his face when he bats right-handed. Just as he was showing me, he sneezed.
“Darn, I’m not supposed to do that,” he said, noting that his face was still tender from the hairline fracture suffered when he took a ground ball off his cheek. “In fact, that’s the first time I’ve really sneezed since it happened.”
I confessed that I was wearing cologne, but…hey, it’s the good stuff. Not the elevator-clearing fragrance sported by Miguel Olivo. But I digress.
Back to Smoak, he got hit in the leg by a pitch his very first at-bat in his Class AAA rehab assignment.
“I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’,” Smoak said, shaking his head.
But he got through it OK. Is fine taking ground balls now, too.


“At Safeco, I was,” he said. “But at Tacoma, I was a little uneasy. not the same surface.”
He was laughing when he said it.
His keys for the final month?
“Just trying to stick with the plan,” he said. “I had a game plan early on and then I got out of it. I started trying to hit home runs. I just felt real good there for a while and then started trying to do too much.
“I just have to stay within myself and stick to the plan.”
The lineups:
Mariners (58-78)
——————————-
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
20 Mike Carp (L) 1B
17 Justin Smoak (S) DH
30 Miguel Olivo C
15 Kyle Seager (L) 3B
33 Casper Wells LF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
——————————-
38 Jason Vargas LHP
Athletics (61-76)
——————————-
19 Jemile Weeks (S) 2B
4 Coco Crisp (S) CF
55 Hideki Matsui (L) DH
16 Josh Willingham LF
29 Scott Sizemore 3B
31 Brandon Allen (L) 1B
2 Cliff Pennington (S) SS
8 Kurt Suzuki C
23 Michael Taylor RF
——————————-
52 Guillermo Moscoso RHP

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan

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