The Mariners Friday activated DH Corey Hart from the 15-day disabled list (left hamstring) and designated OF Cole Gillespie for assignment. Hart is with the Mariners in Chicago for the 4 p.m. PT opener of a three-game series. The Mariners also activated 1B Justin Smoak off the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma, which means Logan Morrison remain the club’s first baseman.
Smoak, 27, has been Seattle’s starting first baseman since being acquired from the Rangers at the trade deadline in 2010. But Morrison hit .267 with four home runs and 14 RBIs since coming off the disabled list June 10.
“It’s tough, but we only have so many spots,” manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters in Chicago. “LoMo has been playing extremely well and has been a big lift for us and Smoaky will continue to get at-bats there and get sharp. Listen, at some point he’ll be helping this club again.”
The 32-year-old Hart has been on the disabled list since May 19, when he strained his hamstring running to second base. He appeared in 10 games on a rehab assignment with AAA Tacoma, batting .297 (11×37) with three doubles, one triple, one home run and 4 RBIs.
In 37 games prior to getting hurt, Hart hit .209 (29×139) with five home runs and 17 RBIs.
Gillespie, 30, appeared in 34 games, batting .254 (18×71) with two doubles, one home run and 5 RBIs. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright the contract of Gillespie to the minors.
Rookie LHP Roenis Elias (7-6, 3.96) will throw Friday opposite LHP Chris Sale (7-1, 2.30). Winners of four in a row and eight of 10, the Mariners enter Friday’s play five games behind division-leading Oakland.