Aoki was hitting well for Seattle prior to being optioned, batting .316 with a .362 on-base percentage in 31 games after being recalled from a prior midseason stint with Tacoma. But with the Mariners facing a string of left-handed starting pitchers, general manager Jerry Dipoto chose to go with right-handed-hitting outfielder Guillermo Heredia for the 10-day stretch and let Aoki continue playing regularly with Tacoma.
Aoki will be competing now for playing time in left field with Heredia and veteran Seth Smith, as well as rookie Ben Gamel, who was acquired in a trade from the Yankees last Wednesday.
"We'll just look at matchups," manager Scott Servais said. "I'll want to get all those guys in there and see how we're going to work it. It'll be a little challenging, I'm not going to lie. And the guys probably aren't going to be happy with my decision every day. But it's September. I'm going to put the guys out there that give us the best chance to win the game that night."
For the season, Aoki has posted a .265/.333/.346 line, with 47 runs and six stolen bases in 15 attempts over 98 games.
The fifth-year Major League veteran signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with Seattle in free agency last offseason. The contract includes a vesting option for next season that kicks in if Aoki reaches 480 plate appearances. He's currently at 389 plate appearances with 25 games remaining.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.