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February 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Expect Chone Figgins to be named Mariners leadoff hitter within a couple of days

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Mariners manager Eric Wedge just confirmed that Chone Figgins will see the bulk of his time at third base this spring and once the season begins. Figgins told me this morning that the team has already said he’ll be an everyday player in 2012, with the majority of time coming at third and also at other infield and maybe some outfield spots.
When I spoke to Figgins, he told me no decision had been made on where he’d be hitting. He also said that the hitting style, or approach, he’d be taking would depend on where he bats in the lineup.
So, I asked Wedge whether he felt it was important — given how Figgins seemed caught between a too-patient and too-aggressive approcah last year — to let him know where he’d be batting early on in camp.
“I think it’s important,” Wedge said. “I think that this will all play out here in the next couple of days.”
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Does that mean, I asked, that he plans to speak to the players involved?
“I’m going to talk to a few of the guys, yeah,” he said. “And then as soon as I’m done, I’m going to talk to you (media) guys and then you can write your you-know-what’s off.”
Well, why wait? Let’s start now.


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After all, Wedge has dropped strong hints all winter that he might move Ichiro out of the leadoff spot. Sounds like he’s already made up his mind, given that he plans to talk to players about where they’ll be hitting before intra-squad games even begin.
So, if he’s not even going to see players at work in games, it sounds like those hints he was dropping were more the laying of groundwork than merely thinking “Hmm, this might be a good idea, let’s see.”
No, Wedge already knows what’s going to happen with the lineup.
And if Ichiro isn’t the leadoff hitter, Figgins is the logical choice to succeed him.
“He’s a real good person,” Wedge said. “He’s a good baseball player. He’s had a tough go of it. For a couple of years here and it’s been hard on him. But the best thing he can do is put that behind him and learn from it. And take whatever he can from it and then come out and play ball. He’s going to get an opportunity here.”
An everyday opportunity, from the sound of it.
“He’s still getting the bulk of his time at third base,” Wedge said. “But we’re going to continue to bounce him around in the outfield and also at second and short.”

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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