Mariners option slumping 1B Dae-Ho Lee to the minors

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SEATTLE (AP) — Mired in a slump for the past month, the Seattle Mariners optioned first baseman Dae-Ho Lee to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday.

Seattle recalled Stefan Romero from Tacoma to take Lee's spot on the roster and the Mariners put him in the starting lineup for Friday night's series opener with Milwaukee. Seattle also activated reliever Steve Cishek from the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-hander Joe Wieland to Tacoma.

The move with Lee was not a surprise as the slugger has been unable to shake his recent slide that's seen the South Korean star hit .109 with one home run and four RBIs in his last 20 games.

"It's been a pretty significant slide since the All-Star break and trying to get his timing going," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "Confidence-wise he's down. I've met with him a couple of times. (Hitting coach) Edgar (Martinez) has tried to get some things going, the timing with his swing, just hasn't happened."

Lee was a revelation the first half of the season, earning his way into a regular platoon situation at first base as Seattle's primary option when facing left-handed pitching. But he injured his hand around the All-Star break and said for a few weeks he was unable to keep up his regular hitting routine outside of games. Servais noted that Lee has been struggling with timing and hoped the decision to send him down will allow Lee the opportunity to rediscover his swing but without the pressure of Seattle being in a playoff race.

Lee said his hand is healthy now.

"It was on and off missing some pitches and a little bit I lost a little confidence of my batting," Lee said through an interpreter.

For the season, Lee is batting .246 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs. He has just six hits since the All-Star break and is hitless in his past 14 at-bats.

Cishek went on the disabled list on Aug. 4 with a labrum tear in his left hip. The injury did not require surgery and Cishek gives Seattle another right-handed option in the bullpen, but he won't go back to the closer role he had earlier in the year. Cishek was 25 of 31 in save opportunities, but took a blown save and a loss in his last two appearances before landing on the disabled list.

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