Mariners: Justin Smoak to open season as primary 1B

Hannah Foslien

Justin Smoak will be the Seattle Mariners' Opening Day first baseman unless "something drastic" happens.

Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge told reporters, including Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, that Justin Smoak will be the team's Opening Day first baseman unless "something drastic" happens.

Entering spring training, Wedge viewed Smoak as the Mariners' primary first baseman. The skipper doesn't like to make major decisions based off spring training results, according to Baker, meaning it will be Smoak's job to lose. This isn't likely to happen barring a "drastic" development, which would probably be an injury.

A switch could still occur, but Wedge is likely to wait until the start of the regular season to make any changes at first base. At this point, Wedge expects Smoak to get "the bulk of the time at first base," while offseason acquisition Kendrys Morales will get a bulk of the time as the team's designated hitter.

Smoak was a top prospect that came over to Seattle as the primary acquisition in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately for Smoak and the Mariners, his minor league success has yet to translate in the majors.

Last season over 535 plate appearances, Smoak hit .217/.290/.364 with 14 doubles and 19 home runs. The 26-year-old owns a career batting line of .223/.306/.377 over parts of three seasons in the majors.

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