Justin Smoak hits a double in return from the minors
Smoak went just .242 in three weeks in Class AAA, but said he feels the best he has in a long time.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Justin Smoak says he was less worried about statistics during a three-week stint in Class AAA than he was about getting his swing shortened.
Smoak certainly didn't compile many AAA stats, going .242 at the plate for Tacoma with no home runs in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. But the Mariners nonetheless say they saw enough improvement out of Smoak to recall him Tuesday to take the spot of injured first baseman Mike Carp.
"I wasn't really looking at stats, it was more of just trying to get to where I felt comfortable," Smoak said. "It's still a work in progress. But these past couple of weeks are probably the best I've felt in a long time."
As if to demonstrate that, he drilled a double down the left-field line his first at-bat in the second inning. He had only six doubles in four months with the team before being sent down.
Smoak focused on shortening his left-handed swing in order to get to certain pitches quicker and make better contact. He's a natural right-handed swinger, so that side of his game was already more compact.
As for building on the .189 average he had his first time up, Smoak doesn't feel he's running out of time to prove himself.
"No, not at all," he said. "It's a young organization and I'm 25 years old. There are still a lot of years left. So, it's something I'm just trying to get comfortable with and do little things to stay relaxed and get comfortable at the plate."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the Carp injury likely hastened the recall of Smoak, but not by much.
"It probably would have been close," Wedge said.
• The Mariners held a moment of silence before Tuesday's game to pay tribute to the memory of KOMO-TV news anchor Kathi Goertzen, who died Monday at the age of 54 after years of battling brain tumors.
• The Mariners confirmed Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with Brazilian free agent pitcher Luiz Gohara, 16. Baseball America reported the deal to be worth $880,000.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound left-handed Gohara was ranked by the magazine as the No. 7 international prospect for 2012.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @gbakermariners