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Padres give Seth Smith contract extension

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Shortly before Wednesday's early game, the San Diego Padres announced the signing of outfielder Seth Smith to a two-year contract extension through 2016.

The deal is reportedly worth $13 million. The team also retains an option for 2017.

Smith, 31, has been the lone bright spot offensively for the Padres since they acquired him over the winter for relief pitcher Luke Gregerson. While the Padres' offense hit (no pun intended) historic levels of ineptitude in June (researchers say the team's .171 average was the worst June offensively since the 1880s), Smith has continued to hit and now leads the Padres in most offensive categories, including batting (.281), doubles (18), home runs (nine) and runs batted in (25).

On Tuesday night, keying a rare offensive outburst for the Friars, Smith had a single, double and leadoff homer in an 8-2 victory over Cincinnati.

Ironically, while Smith was acquired to be a fourth outfielder and a left-handed bat off the bench, he has hit so well from the start that he has forced the offense-starved Padres to play him every day.

It doesn't hurt that Smith has hit so well at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. In 42 games there this season, Smith has batted .322 with 23 extra-base hits and 18 of his 25 RBI. In his career, Smith is a .311 hitter at Petco with 30 extra-base hits in 73 games.

Smith, a Mississippi native who played the last two seasons for the Oakland A's, spent his first five seasons with the Rockies, who drafted him in the second round of the 2004 draft out of Ole Miss.

A career .265 hitter, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder had his best season in 2011, when he hit .284 for the Rockies.

This is the first significant move by the Padres since they dismissed General Manager Josh Byrnes. While the team continues to hold interviews for a new GM, a three-man front-office team is running day-to-day operations.

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