Smoak showing early mental toughness

Smoak showing early mental toughness

CHICAGO -- The Rangers may be getting an early view of first baseman Justin Smoak's mental toughness. Smoak went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in a 2-1 loss to the Twins on Friday, and that was clearly a low moment for him to this point in his embryonic Major League career.

But Smoak has rebounded strong from that dismal night. Going into Wednesday's game against the White Sox, he is 4-for-8 with a home run in his past three games. That's a small sample, but he is starting to drive the ball with authority. He hit an RBI pinch-hit single and a home run off the bench on Tuesday night.

"I'm still hitting a buck-eighty or something like that," said Smoak, who is actually at .190. "I'm still not where I want to be, and I still have a lot of work to do. I need to keep getting better every day.

"It's tough when you strike out three times in a game. Normally, it doesn't happen to me. After that night, I told myself to just go out and have fun. There's no pressure, so just relax and slow the game down as much as possible."