By Brent Stecker
Justin Smoak is fully recovered from his strained quadriceps, but while he has been activated from the disabled list, he is not rejoining the Mariners just yet.
Smoak has been optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer reported via Twitter Friday. Smoak has been rehabbing with the Rainiers since June 18, and the hitting struggles that plagued him in the majors before his injury haven’t gone anywhere in that time.
In 63 games with the Mariners this season, Smoak has hit just .208 with seven home runs, 29 RBIs, 21 walks, 60 strikeouts and a .643 OPS. With Tacoma, he’s hit .204 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 13 games.
The recent success of 26-year-old Logan Morrison at first base has provided a road block to the starting first base spot in Seattle for Smoak. Morrison is hitting .242 this season, including .267 with an .805 OPS, four homers and 14 RBIs since returning from an injury of his own on June 11.
Smoak, 27, has a career batting average of .225 in five seasons in the major leagues. He was originally acquired as the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee trade with the Rangers in 2010.