The Mariners send struggling first baseman Justin Smoak to Triple-A Tacoma and placed outfielder Milton Bradley on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee.
Smoak was the centerpiece of Seattle's trade of Cliff Lee to Texas. His demotion before Saturday's game at Minnesota means Seattle traded the 2008 AL Cy Young winner and an All-Star a few weeks ago for four minor leaguers, only one of whom is at Triple-A.
The 23-year-old Smoak is batting just .159 with five RBIs in 16 games for the Mariners. "We've been making some adjustments with him," Seattle ManagerDon Wakamatsu said, "We're just trying to get him an environment where there's not as much pressure to produce right now. We know the total amount of at-bats he's had in professional baseball."
Smoak, the No. 11 overall selection in the 2008 draft, started his first full professional season in 2009 at AA Frisco, where he hit .328 with six homers and 29 RBIs in just 50 games. He began this season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and hit .300 with two home runs and five RBIs before joining the Rangers on April 23,after just 727 minor league at-bats.
Considered one of the top prospects in baseball, Smoak hit just .209 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 70 games with the Rangers. "You feel good at times and the game is going slow and then you start trying to do too much and it starts catching back up with you," Smoak said at the time of his trade. "That's what I'mtrying to do, find a way to stay consistent."
"It was a thought process even during the trade that we would do this or that we would start him there," Wakamatsu said, "We wanted to take a look at him, and this gives him an opportunity to go down there and relax a little bit and work on some things."
Bradley, who is hitting .205 with eight home runs this season, hasn't played since July 26 because of his bad right knee. He is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 11.
Seattle recalled reliever Sean White and infielder Matt Tuiasosopo from Tacoma to fill the two open spots on the Mariners' roster.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times