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Mariners recall OF Mallex Smith, option UT Shed Long to Triple-A

Mallex Smith is back with the Mariners after hitting .333 in 10 games with Triple-A Tacoma. (AP)

Center fielder Mallex Smith is back with the Mariners after 10 games with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

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To make room for Smith’s recall to Seattle’s active roster, utility player Shed Long has been optioned back to Tacoma.

With Long, who has been playing second base with Seattle, heading back to the Rainiers, it appeared to indicate that Dee Gordon’s hand injury suffered in New York last week had healed enough for him to rejoin the Mariners’ lineup. That turned out to be the case, as Gordon was penciled in to hit leadoff and play second in Thursday night’s series opener against Minnesota.

Smith, 26, was sent down to the Rainiers on April 30 due to a slow start at the plate in his first season with the Mariners that was later joined by some defensive struggles.

The left-handed-swinging Smith is hitting .165 with one home run, two triples, a double, eight stolen bases (in nine attempts), 11 walks and 33 strikeouts in 27 games with Seattle. In Triple-A, he hit .333 (15 for 45) with a home run, seven stolen bases (in seven attempts), three walks and four strikeouts in 10 games. He also worked with former Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron while in Tacoma.

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The Mariners are hoping Smith, who missed the team’s opening series in Japan and didn’t have much of a spring training due to an arm injury, will look more like the player who hit .296 with a .367 on-base percentage, two homers, 10 triples (tied for the American League lead), 27 doubles and 40 stolen bases (in 52 attempts) last year with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Long, 23, played in three games for the Mariners in his first MLB promotion after being recalled from Tacoma on May 10. He went hitless in nine at-bats with two walks for the Mariners. With the Rainiers, he is hitting .276 with five home runs, four triples, five doubles, 21 RBIs and an .854 OPS in 32 games.

Smith will be in uniform and available to play in the Mariners’ series opener against the Minnesota Twins at T-Mobile Park, which will air live on 710 ESPN Seattle at 7:10 p.m. Thursday.

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