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McClendon says Smoak's fielding overlooked

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Before the Mariners faced the Athletics on Sunday in the finale of the teams' three-game series, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon suggested that it was only a matter of time before first baseman Justin Smoak would be recognized for his defense.

"I think he's a Gold Glove type of first baseman," McClendon said. "I think the reason he has probably not won a Gold Glove to this point is his offensive numbers have not been there. I've always said that Gold Gloves are more an offensive award than a defensive award. If you look at first basemen in the league, I think he's as good as any of them."

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SEATTLE -- Before the Mariners faced the Athletics on Sunday in the finale of the teams' three-game series, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon suggested that it was only a matter of time before first baseman Justin Smoak would be recognized for his defense.

"I think he's a Gold Glove type of first baseman," McClendon said. "I think the reason he has probably not won a Gold Glove to this point is his offensive numbers have not been there. I've always said that Gold Gloves are more an offensive award than a defensive award. If you look at first basemen in the league, I think he's as good as any of them."

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Seattle lost, 3-1, to Oakland on Saturday night, though the final outcome could have been more lopsided if it weren't for Smoak's play around the bag. With perfect footwork, he started a double play to get starter Erasmo Ramirez out of the fifth inning. With two outs and the Mariners trailing by 3-1 in the third, he dived to his right to stop a sharply hit Alberto Callaspo ground ball. The unassisted putout helped Ramirez avoid more damage as it stranded runners on first and third.

"For me, it's routine with him," McClendon said. "I probably take it for granted because he's so good around the bag. He's definitely a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman. Once he gets those offensive numbers up, he'll be recognized."

Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Seattle Mariners, Justin Smoak