Updated Jul 24, 2012 - 4:18 pm
Zduriencik says Smoak 'needed a change of scenery'
Justin Smoak is heading down to Triple-A Tacoma to work on whatever has contributed to his horrendous offensive performance in 2012.
The way Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik sees it, the struggling first baseman wasn't going to fix anything at the major-league level.
Smoak is hitting .189 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs this season, and his struggles have been even more pronounced the last week. He's hitless with nine strikeouts in his last 16 at-bats, which included an 0-for-3 night on Monday.
Zduriencik said he and manager Eric Wedge considered sending Smoak down before the All-Star break but decided to wait and see if he would benefit from the days off. Smoak hit home runs in consecutive games against the Royals, but he's hitting just .093 in 11 games since the break.
"He needed a change of scenery," Zduriencik said. "He just needed to clear his head."
Zduriencik used Toronto's Adam Lind as an example of a first baseman who benefited from a demotion to Triple-A. Lind spent five weeks in the minors and has raised his OPS 133 points since he was recalled.
Zduriencik isn't putting a timetable on Smoak's return.
"As we said to Justin last night, 'Hey, it could be 10 days, it could be two weeks, it could be a month. A lot of it depends on you, how you go down there and handle this and your preparation to get back up here,'" Zduriencik said.
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.