The Mariners now sit a season-worst 23 games under .500, but that wasn’t the ugliest part of Friday’s loss to the Red Sox.
An intense confrontation broke out in the Mariners dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu told Chone Figgins he was being removed from the game for failing to backup a throw at second base in the fifth inning. You can watch the play in question and the subsequent fracas here.
Several players and coaches attempted to separate the two, including Russell Branyan, who can be seen lunging over the confrontation, and Jose Lopez, who had his jersey ripped clean off his body by an M’s coach.
Figgins watched the rest of the game in the clubhouse, but left before speaking to the media. After the game, Wakamatsu told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he was justified to remove Figgins from the game, despite numerous instances of poor baserunning in the past week.
“I think you’re talking about base running plays and not all of those
are cut and dried,” Wakamatsu said of the prior gaffes that went
unpunished. “I thought this was cut and dried.”
As Baker mentions, Figgins previously criticized Wakamatsu last month for dropping him to the ninth spot in the batting order. While that decision didn’t make a lot of sense, since Figgins was actually hitting pretty well at the time, many managers probably would have made the same decision Wakamatsu did on Friday night. But that doesn’t mean that he has the rest of the M’s locker room on his side. According to Baker, several players believe Wakamatsu forced Ken Griffey Jr. out of Seattle, something the skipper has denied. Fortunately, if the Mariners keep losing, he won’t have to worry about any more awkward Q and A’s with the press.
According to the Associated Press, Wakamatsu said Figgins will not be suspended for his actions, however he refused to say whether he will be in the lineup for Saturday’s game.