Smith, out with tight groin, may return today

Seattle right fielder hasn't played since Opening Day debut

Smith, out with tight groin, may return today

OAKLAND -- Since his sensational debut for the Mariners on Opening Day, right fielder Seth Smith has been sidelined by a tight groin muscle. But the 32-year-old said Friday he's feeling better and manager Lloyd McClendon indicated he'd like to have Smith back in the lineup Saturday for the second game of a three-game set with the A's.

Smith went 3-for-3 with a triple and two doubles in Seattle's first game of the season on Monday, the first Mariner in club history to record three extra-base hits on Opening Day. But he awoke the following morning with some tightness and hasn't played since.

"He's doing better," McClendon said prior to Friday's series opener at the Coliseum. "My hope is he'll be able to play tomorrow."

Smith wouldn't likely have been in the lineup Friday regardless, given the A's were starting southpaw Drew Pomeranz. He'll be used primarily in a platoon role against right-handers, and Seattle faces righties in its next three games.

"I think we're good," Smith said after hitting in the cage Friday afternoon.

The eight-year Major League veteran said the soreness affects more than just hitting.

"That specific area, everything you do is incorporated in it," he said. "Whether it's running, throwing or hitting, you just have to see where you feel it and where you don't. Right now, I don't feel it, so it's looking good."

Smith's line-drive double

Smith was back at the Coliseum for the first time since spending two seasons with the A's in 2012-13, making the postseason both years. Now playing for his fourth Major League club after being acquired in December from the Padres for reliever Brandon Maurer, he said it's a fun part of the big league journey.

"I've been back to Colorado. I'll go back to San Diego [this year]," Smith said. "It's fun to come back. No big deal. You miss people, so you say hello and then play a baseball game. I had great memories here."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.