Why this song? Why not? It's awesome
Justin Smoak is back in the lineup tonight after missing the last five games with a swollen thumb. But before the injury, Smoak was struggling. He's basically been struggling since June. His batting average dropped to .221 and his OBP was down to .318 and his slugging had sunk to .388. Not what you want from your first baseman.
Near the end of the video above, Mariners manager Eric Wedge shoulders some of the blame for Smoak's struggles. .
"I think I take some of the blame with Justin in regard to him falling off a little bit," Wedge said. "If you remember us talking earlier, I was adamant to keep him in the 5 hole. But he was without a doubt our best hitter the first couple of months and I felt like out of necessity we needed to move him to three. I told you I wasn’t going hit him cleanup, and I lied to you again and hit him clean up. There are good reasons I felt the way I did early on. But ultimately you have to do what you have to do as you move forward. I do believe he has the potential to be a middle of the order bat."
Smoak is just happy to be playing again. He has never really had a major injury in his career, so to sit on the bench for five games was torture.
"It was tough," he said. "I don’t like sitting in the first place. But it’s something I had to do. That bad hop got me and my thumb swelled up and was sore."
Of course, he tried to coax his way back into the lineup on the last part of the road trip.
"The other day in Texas I wanted to play," he said. "Who doesn’t want to play in Texas, especially as a hitter? I was trying my best to get in there, but it’s one of those things where I had to give it some rest."
How did he do it?
"I told him, ‘I’m ready,'" Smoak said. "He said, ‘Are you sure it’s not sore?. I said, ‘Well, sure it’s sore but I need to play. I’m tired of watching.’ He kind of knew it. He knew I was itching to get back out there. It’s one of those things I had to rest it a little bit."
But now it's rested and healed and Smoak is trying to salvage some of his season.
"That’s my goal," he said. "Last year, I finished strong and had something to look forward to and work on in the offseason. That’s the plan here now. I started out well here this year and I’ve been up and down since. I’ve got to find what works and stick with it."
Wedge also has similar hopes.
"I’m hoping that one, the injuries are behind him, and two, go out there and play him every day," Wedge said. "That way he can get back to doing what he does best. And that’s driving the ball to all fields and being consistent and putting up good ABs, finishing strong and feeling good about himself."
A few notes ...
Adam Moore is starting to catch bullpens, but Wedge said they will make a decision at the end of the homestand if he will go out on a rehab assignment. They won't want to rush him back to soon. Wedge label a return to games for Moore "a longshot."
The Red Sox made another lineup change, the new order is:
- Ellsbury CF
- Gonzalez 1B
- Pedroia 2B
- Ortiz DH
- Crawford LF
- Saltalamacchia C
- Reddick RF
Scutaro SSAviles 3B