SEATTLE -- Justin Smoak was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to figure out his swing. Twenty games later, the Mariners will find out if the first baseman has found his stroke.
Smoak was recalled prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays to take the roster spot of Mike Carp, who has landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin muscle.
Smoak started the season with the Mariners as the primary first baseman, but was optioned to Tacoma on July 23 after struggling at the plate. In 90 games with the Mariners, Smoak is hitting .189 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs. He said he worked on shortening his swing while with Tacoma, especially from the left side of the plate, the less-natural side for the switch-hitter.
"Everybody is trying to get everything right, day in and day out, but I had some time down there, wasn't really looking at stats, it's was more of just trying to get it to where I feel comfortable," said Smoak, who hit .242 in Tacoma. "Still a work in progress, but this past couple weeks is probably the best I've felt in a long time."
Said Mariners manager Eric Wedge: "High character guy, good teammate, does all the things you like to see a championship player do, but it was about being more consistent with his swing, being a little bit shorter to the baseball, being able to repeat that swing more.
"You saw it fairly consistently in BP, you didn't see very consistently in games, so hopefully we'll see a little bit more of that in game."
Smoak said his time away from the big league level was good, because it gave him a chance to figure out a daily routine, something he hasn't been able to do during his professional career. A regular routine will help contribute to a steady mindset for each at-bat, which Wedge believes is important.
"I feel like he's done a better job with that, but hey, when you put it together, a consistent approach in regard to your mindset, as you're standing up there doing some things fundamentally more consistently, then you've got something," Wedge said.
Smoak becomes the only first baseman on the Mariners roster with Carp on the DL. This is Carp's third stint on the DL this season after two previous trips due to a right shoulder injury. Carp injured his groin while stretching to receive a throw in the fifth inning of Sunday's game in Anaheim.
Carp is hitting .206 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 49 games with the Mariners this season, but had heated up as of late. In his last 15 games, Carp was hitting .308 with three doubles and a home run.
Beavan making Major adjustments
SEATTLE -- Blake Beavan has broken into the big leagues, found some success, had his share of failures and is now ready to take the next step in his professional career. For Beavan, that means being better at making adjustments.
"It's just a matter of making little adjustments and still remembering what's gotten you here to this point and what's worked for you," Beavan said. "For me, that's being able to use my fastball and locate and use both sides of the plate. Sometimes I get in the habit of mixing stuff up too much when I don't need to.
"Usually it's the one-inning thing, one inning just kills your outing or just changes the whole situation of the game. That's something I'm trying to get better at and realize before it kind of snowballs or turns into a big inning."
Beavan has had a good run since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma -- where he spent about a month during parts of June and July -- posting a 4-1 record with 4.02 record in six starts. He faced just one above the minimum in five of his six innings in taking the loss on Monday, but was done in by a four-run third.
Still, being able to work around that inning and, except for that hiccup, continue his stretch of good pitching, gives Beavan greater confidence. And when the big right-hander believes in himself, it's easier to go out and get the job done.
"As a young guy, a young inexperienced player, you always want people breathing confidence in you and yourself believing you can do it up here, and for me it's just a matter of making small adjustments," Beavan said. "Whether it's getting my breaking ball over for strikes early or late in the count -- whichever it might be -- or maybe it's attacking guys, more aggressive. I think I've done a better job since I've been back, but I still feel like I need to do a better job of that."
Robinson showing off his speed
SEATTLE -- Trayvon Robinson had played in 10 Major League games this season entering Tuesday's game against the Rays, but he hadn't showcased his true speed until recently.
In his past three games, Robinson has two steals and his first career triple. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he's seen improvement from the young outfielder on the basepaths.
"I think he trusts himself a little bit more, I think he's out there with a little bit more confidence," Wedge said. "His athleticism has showed up. A couple of the stolen bases have been impressive.
"It's a combination of both. I think the technique kind of fell into place once he started to trust himself a little bit more, and [he's] a little bit more confident out there. That's when your true athleticism comes into place, again going back to being tension-free and being able to settle in out there."
Robinson is hitting .243 with two doubles, a triple, three stolen bases and six runs in 37 at-bats. The 24-year-old made his Major League debut last season and hit .210 with 12 doubles, two home runs and one stolen base in 44 games.
Prior to Tuesday, Kyle Seager has recorded a hit in seven consecutive games at home, hitting .462 (12-for-26) during that span. He has raised his home average from .167 to .209 during that time.
The Mariners entered Tuesday's contest having played a Major League-leading 80 games against teams with a winning record. The Rockies (75) have played the second most.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.