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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

March 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Look soon for Figgins at third and Lopez at second — but don’t jump to conclusions

Don Wakamatsu said today that he is “leaning” toward going with Jose Lopez at third base and Chone Figgins at second when the regular season starts. That has become increasingly obvious, considering those two have played nowhere else all spring.

But that’s about to change, it appears. Wakamatsu and GM Jack Zduriencik were talking about the issue Friday and decided it might be prudent to check out Figgins at third and Lopez and second.

“Not because we’re doubting it,” Wakamatsu stressed. “But to say, ‘OK, what does the other way look like?’ ”

The Mariners play a night game tonight at Goodyear against Cincinnati, and those two will be at their now-familiar positions — Figgins at second, Lopez at third. Both will be out of the lineup Saturday, and Wakamatsu said he will likely take that opportunity to have both take ground balls at the other position — Lopez at second, Figgins at third. And he seems to be leaning toward trying that alignment in a game in Peoria either Monday against Oakland or Tuesday against the Angels.

That said, I still think the Mariners will wind up with Figgins at second and Lopez at third, for the reasons that prompted the move in the first place. Lopez, especially now that he’s buying into it, is less of a liability at third than at second, and Figgins will be strong in either position.

“I think the sentiment in the clubhouse is, everyone likes what’s going on,” Wakamatsu said. “Everything seems to be that they want to go down this road. I think the challenge is, do we want to look at it the other way before we make that decision? We’ve kind of gone down this road of yay or nay. But is there a possibility over the next couple of days we take a look at it the other way?That’s the dialogue Jack and I have had. Everyone wants to say, this is the D day. We still have quite a bit of baseball in spring training.”

So there’s something interesting to look for in the coming days.

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