Slump-ridden Figgins loses his everyday role

The Sports Xchange
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Two-plus seasons of unachieved expectations spilled down on Chone Figgins on Friday when Mariners manager Eric Wedge told him he would no longer be an everyday player.

Figgins, 34, had a good first week in returning to his role as a leadoff hitter to start the 2012 season, but things went downhill quickly from there. Figgins came into Friday with a .189 batting average and a .250 on-base percentage, significantly lower than the club had hoped to see when it put him atop the order with Ichiro Suzuki moving to the No. 3 slot.

Manager Eric Wedge met with Figgins before the game after a run of two weeks in which Figgins was 4-for-36 (.111) and told him there were going to be changes made.

"I talked to Figgy today and I told him we're going to change his role," "He's going to be in more of a utility role for us now. So, I had a good conversation with Chone earlier today before we posted the lineup and he was a total pro about it.

"He understood. I felt like this was the time we needed to do it. I wanted to give it as long as I felt like I could to try to get him going. It just wasn't happening to the point where I felt like it should."

Dustin Ackley, who has been battling slump issues of his own, now becomes the leadoff hitter. Alex Liddi was moved into the No. 2 spot that had belonged to Ackley, although Wedge sees Liddi as more of a middle-of-the-lineup-type hitter.

Wedge would like to get Brendan Ryan batting second, but Ryan remains at the bottom of the lineup while he battles slump issues of his own. Ryan had two hits Friday to end an 0-for-26 skid that had his average down to .125.

Ackley got one hit, but he flied out with men on the corners in the fifth inning, the last best chance for Seattle to score. The Mariners wound up losing 3-2 to Minnesota, the seventh consecutive loss for Seattle.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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