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Mariners send struggling Mallex Smith to Triple-A, recall OF Bishop

Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith is hitting just .165 through 27 games. (AP)

The first big trade of the Mariners’ offseason was to get Mallex Smith and make him their everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Unfortunately for Seattle, things have not gone as planned.

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Smith, who has struggled this season after missing much of spring training with an arm injury, has been optioned to Triple-A Tacoma ahead of the Mariners’ 7:10 p.m. game Tuesday against the Cubs.

Fellow outfielder Braden Bishop, who started the season on the Mariners’ roster while Smith was still working his way back from the arm injury, has been recalled from the Rainiers.

Smith, who will turn 26 on Saturday, is hitting just .165 with a .255 on-base percentage in his first season in Seattle. While he does have eight stolen bases in nine attempts, he has two errors and scuffled in the field. In 2018, Smith hit .296 with 40 stolen bases and an American League-leading 10 triples for Tampa Bay.

The Mariners acquired Smith from the Rays in the deal that sent Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia to Tampa Bay. It was actually the second time the M’s had traded for Smith, who was dealt to Tampa Bay during the 2017 offseason on the same day Seattle picked him up in a trade with Atlanta.

The 25-year-old Bishop has made one career MLB appearance, going for 0 for 1 at the plate during the Mariners’ two-game series to open the season against the A’s in Japan. In 21 Triple-A games this year, the University of Washington product is hitting .267 (24 for 90) with three home runs, seven doubles, 13 RBIs and a .356 on-base percentage. He has seven multi-hit games with Tacoma.

Bishop is in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Cubs on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Mariners lineup vs Cubs

Mitch Haniger, RF
Domingo Santana, LF
Edwin Encarnación, 1B
Tim Beckham, SS
Jay Bruce, DH
Ryon Healy, 3B
Omar Narváez, C
Braden Bishop, CF
Dee Gordon, 2B

Félix Hernández, RHP

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