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May 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Mariners manager Eric Wedge says releasing Chone Figgins not a consideration and that Casper Wells was odd man out

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Mariners manager Eric Wedge had to know he’d be answering some Chone Figgins and Casper Wells questions today. You can see the answer he gave on Wells in the video clip above.
As for Figgins, Wedge said releasing him hasn’t even been considered by the team.
“Not right now,” Wedge said. “Right now, that’s not even an option for us. With Chone, as you all know — we were very open with you (media) guys about that — we wanted to give him every opportunity to get back on track. We feel like we did that, leading him off, switching his role a little bit, and it didn’t work out.
“So now, he’s a utility player and a super utility player at that. He gives us protection. We’ll play him when we need him. We’ll use him how we see fit to help us win ballgames and go from there. You knew that that was the next option if it didn’t work out. And that’s where we are right now.”
Thing is, Wedge has used Figgins just four times in three weeks. He’s had just six plate appearances, going hitless and walking once. Not quite what super-utility guys normally do for their teams.
Wedge was asked whether the team is getting closer to parting ways with Figgins.
“It’s an unfair question to ask because Chone’s a part of this team right now,” Wedge said. “If people have a little bit of momentum this way, that way or whatever, you can’t get caught up in that. Right now, that’s not even an option for us.”

Wedge said the decision to demote Wells to Class AAA was a matter of him being “the odd man out, simple as that.
“I’d like to keep everybody here and even have more people up here, quite frankly,” he said. “But you can only have the numbers that you can have and he was the one who had to go. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for him to go down there and play every day. It’s been sporadic. I’ve only played him really against left-handed starters. I think he’s been starting to find it a little bit, He’s had some fine moments, like that swing the other day that just missed, a couple of knocks before that.
“So, for him to go down there and play a little bit, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for him.”
Miguel Olivo is back and starting behind the plate tonight. Olivo was riding an eight-game hitting streak before going down with a groin injury in Tampa Bay. He told me he was hitting the ball hard in Class AAA the past few days, but isn’t sure how quickly it will carry over to the majors again.
“In the big leagues, it’s different,” Olivo said. “I’m going to need one, two, maybe three days to get back to what I had in Tampa.”
But Olivo says he is pain free and can do everything he did behind the plate pre-injury.
Olivo and Wedge had a closed door meeting in the manager’s office prior to batting practice. Wedge explained how playing time was going to work and it looks like — at least initially — Olivo won’t be catching as much as before.
That’s because Wedge says he’s going to get all three of his catchers into games. And if you do the math, that means there’s no way Olivo can catch as much.
“I said ‘Listen, we’re going to keep our options open with everything here’,” Wedge said. “It’s nice to have three catchers because you can catch one, DH one and still have somebody you can fill in with if you need to — especially with Montero, who you’re going to need to pinch run for.
“So, what I told Miggy is ‘Listen, we’re going to work you back slow. Montero and Jaso have been doing all the catching, I still want both of those guys to catch, but you’re going to catch as well.’
“We can DH Miggy against left-handed pitchers, especially if it’s a good matchup for us too. So, it’s nice to have different options. I’m not going to sit here and tell everybody exactly how we’re going to handle this, but they’re all going to play.”
The lineups:
LF Mike Trout
3B Alberto Callaspo
1B Albert Pujols
RF Mark Trumbo
DH Kendrys Morales
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Arick Aybar
CF Peter Bourjos
C Bobby Wilson
RHP Dan Haren
2B Dustin Ackley
LF Alex Liddi
RF Ichiro
3B Kyle Seager
DH Jesus Montero
1B Mike Carp
C Miguel Olivo
CF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
LHP Jason Vargas

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Jesus Montero


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