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April 9, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Wedge not concerned about Figgins, mired in 0-for-24 slump

That’s Chris Gimenez getting some work at first base along with Justin Smoak. Gimenez can play first, third and the outfield as well as catch.
Tonight’s lineup:
Michael Brantley CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Carlos Santana C
Travis Hafner DH
Orlando Cabrera 2B
Travis Buck LF
Matt La Porta 1B
Jack Hannahan 3B
Justin Masterson RHP (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Ichiro RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Adam Kennedy 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
Michael Saunders CF
Doug Fister RHP (0-1, 3.18)
Chone Figgins hit .373 in spring training, with a .448 on-base percentage. And when he started the season by going 2-for-5 with a homer and stolen base in the season opener in Oakland, then hit a double in his first at-bat in the second game, it seemed Figgins was poised for the fast start that eluded him last year.
But since that double off Brett Anderson on April 2, Figgins has gone 24 at-bats without getting a base hit, dropping his average to .100 (3-for-30).
Manager Eric Wedge says he’s not worried, pointing out the obvious: It’s way too early for that.
“You know what? It’s just a week,” he said. “Everything counts, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately, Chone is a fantastic player and a very good hitter. He had very good spring. He’s going to be fine.
“You’ve got maybe a couple of guys that maybe are pushing it a little bit. Everybody can just do what they can do. The only time you get into trouble is when you try to do a little bit more than that. We’ve got some good ballplayers, some good people on the club, and every now and then that’s going to happen.”

It may be early, but after the offensive misery of last season for the Mariners, it’s not too early to be concerned about some of the trends. In their current five-game losing streak, the Mariners have scored 13 runs (2.6 per game) and are hitting .206 (34-for-165). In four of those five games, they had six hits, which is not going to get it done.
Wedge said that in the midst of last night’s rout by Cleveland, he urged the Mariners hitters to keep battling for quality at-bats.
“When you get down like that, you can go one way or another, ” he said. “You can continue to compete, or you can cave into it. And we’re never going to cave into it. It’s just a friendly reminder to fight through at-bats, make sure you get something out of an at-bat.
“When it comes to an offensive team that’s continuing to mature and grow and develop, you have to fight through at-bats. You’ve got to work to have a quality at-bat. You’ve got to make good outs. A good out is about ultimately getting something out of that at-bat so you’re that much further along with your next at-bat. We’re a week into it. We’ve seen some good things and we’ve seen some things we need to get better with. That’s all part of it.”
The next step, Wedge said, “is just the consistency. It doesn’t happen over night. It’s one of the hardest things to do, obviously, to hit. You’ve all heard the clich├ęs. But ultimately when you go out there, and you fight through a good at-bat and you compete, every individual has certain keys that allow that to happen. That’s for them to figure out and us to help them figure out.”
You probably noticed that Adam Kennedy is back at second base. That may be logical because Kennedy hits left-handed and Cleveland starter Justin Masterson is much tougher against righties than lefties. But the issue of Jack Wilson pulling himself out of Wednesday’s game continues to linger.
“We’re working through it,” Wedge said. “There’s a lot that happened yesterday, and it’s unfortunate that was such a focus yesterday. That’s one of the things that (ticked) me off about it. But ultimately, we’ll continue to work through it. When I feel like we’re to the point we can count on (Wilson), he’ll be back in there. I’ll let you know.”
Some progress was seemingly made Friday during a meeting between the two, after which Wilson called over reporters to say he wasn’t trying to disrespect Wedge by leaving the impression the manager had pulled him out of the game. Wilson seemed to understand more clearly why Wedge was so upset.
“I think so,” Wedge said. “He came in and talked to me after BP yesterday. That was the first step, and we’ll keep moving forward.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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