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Justin Smoak expected to return to M’s lineup early this week

Apr 24, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

smoak rounds bases Getty Images

Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was placed on the bereavement list Tuesday following the death of his father Keith in South Carolina and has not yet returned to action.

That’s likely to change early this week.

According to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald, Smoak is expected to rejoin the Mariners in Detroit this Tuesday afternoon for a three-game series against the Tigers. He might not play in the first game, but everything should return to normal for the talented 24-year-old by mid-week.

M’s skipper Eric Wedge spoke with Smoak recently about his father’s death and the grieving process:

“He was OK,” Wedge said. “We’ve all been through this in one way, shape or form. What he’s trying to do is take care of his family. We’re going to just have him meet us in Detroit. We’ll give him the time to spend with his family and have the closure that he needs to have there before he comes back.”

Smoak, 24, has turned in an impressive .291/.403/.491 batting line, two home runs and seven RBI through 67 plate appearances this season. He has the talent to maintain that kind of pace all year long.

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