Chone Figgins hit second in the Mariners’ batting order for the first 55 games of the season, but manager Don Wakamatsu moved him to the ninth spot yesterday and Figgins wasn’t very happy about it:
I mean, I’ve been getting on base. I’ve been swinging the bat pretty good. Obviously, it had something to do with me. I think I’ve earned enough respect as a player, because I’m still battling and I’m going good, that I should stay where I was at. I don’t have anything to say.
The fact is, I come to play. And anybody that’s ever known me or watched me play this game knows no matter whether you hit me first, second or tenth, I’m going to play. If I come off the bench, I’m going to come to play 110 percent. And there is not anybody in this game who can take that away from me.
Figgins had three hits last night, so surely Wakamatsu thinks the move motivated him, but in reality Figgins has been hitting well for a while now. Prior to yesterday Figgins was 20-for-68 (.293) with 10 walks and four steals in his last 19 games, producing a .294/.380/.353 line that basically matches his .288/.361/.383 career mark.
So after sticking with a legitimately struggling Figgins in the second spot for two months, Wakamatsu actually decided to move him to the bottom of the order exactly when he started producing like normal again.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.
Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.
Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.