Justin Smoak is off the disabled list after missing nearly a month with a strained quadriceps, but instead of simply adding him to the active roster the Mariners demoted the first baseman to Triple-A.
Smoak really struggled before the injury, hitting .208 with seven homers and a .643 OPS in 63 games, which is a 100-point drop from his 2013 production.
Logan Morrison has been serving as Seattle’s everyday first baseman and rather than shifting him back to the outfield the Mariners will leave him there and stick with Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders in the corner spots while using the newly activated Corey Hart at designated hitter.
Last year was just the second time in Smoak’s career that he’s been an above-average hitter, so the Mariners may simply be ready to give up on the 27-year-old former top prospect.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.
The Mariners have placed starter Felix Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, Jon Morosi reports. He’s expected to miss two to three weeks as opposed to the minimum 10 days.
Hernandez lasted only two innings in Tuesday’s start and was described as dealing with a “dead arm.” The right-hander, through five starts, has a 4.73 ERA with a 22/3 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 innings. The now 31-year-old has not quite been the same pitcher since 2014, when he led the American League in ERA. The Mariners are certainly hoping they get their old All-Star back soon.
Chase De Jong will fill in for Hernandez on Sunday. If he pitches well, he may earn some more starts while Hernandez is out.