SEATTLE – At this point in the season, Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins might rescue a kitten from a tree and get booed.
Figgins, who has heard the wrath of the home fans much of this season, and especially Friday night when he went 0 for 4, was on the bench Saturday night when manager Eric Wedge started Adam Kennedy at third base.
It was Kennedy’s first start this season at third. Figgins, meanwhile, had started seven straight and 27 of the past 28 games.
Kennedy entered the game batting .270 while Figgins’ average had dipped to .195. Manager Eric Wedge, asked if Figgins’ night off was the result of his tough game Friday, said only that he wanted Kennedy to play.
“I want Adam to get in there,” Wedge said. “One of the ways for him to get in there is for him to play third base.”
Kennedy has started 34 games at second base this season but the arrival Friday of Dustin Ackley, who’ll play every day at second, has changed his role. Wedge has said he plans to keep Kennedy’s bat in the lineup by rotating him into the lineup at second, first and third base.
Whether that means Figgins’ playing time will be cut significantly, Wedge isn’t saying.
What’s clear is that Figgins is bringing little to the lineup offensively, and the home fans are have been so vicious toward him that anything he does will draw boos. The crowd seemed especially harsh Friday night, when Figgins went hitless, including two foul popups and a strikeout.
In the field, he also heard booing after he made a long run in left-field foul territory chasing a popup. He got to the ball but didn’t catch it, and the boos were ringing as he tumbled over the railing into the first row of the grandstand.
Saturday may have been a one-night-only seat on the bench for Figgins, although Wedge may choose to play him again this week when the Mariners play three games at Washington – and away from the jeers of the Safeco Field crowd.