Chone Figgins gets rare start in left field | Mariners notebook
In one of the more clear signs yet that the Mariners are showcasing Chone Figgins for a trade, they trotted him out to left field on Thursday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Friday @ Boston, 4:10 p.m., ROOT Sports | Hernandez (8-8, 3.26) vs. Lackey (7-8, 6.70)
Saturday @ Boston, 4:10 p.m., ROOT Sports | Beavan (1-1, 2.30) vs. Beckett (8-3, 2.12)
Sunday @ Boston, 10:35 a.m., ROOT Sports | Pineda (8-6, 3.24) vs. Wakefield (5-3, 4.80)
Monday @ N.Y. Yankees, 4:05 p.m., ROOT Sports | Vargas (6-8, 3.94) vs. Garcia (8-7, 3.21)
Tuesday @ Yankees, 4:05 p.m., ROOT Sports | Fister (3-11, 3.30) vs. Sabathia (14-5, 2.62)
TORONTO — In one of the more clear signs yet that the Mariners are showcasing Chone Figgins for a trade, they trotted him out to left field on Thursday for his first appearance there in years.
Rumors continue to circulate that there is trade interest in Figgins. A baseball source said the Cincinnati Reds had contacted him to pick his brain about what Figgins had to offer. The Reds are in the market for a leadoff hitter and a guy who can play multiple positions, including the outfield.
Figgins didn't make any mistakes against Toronto while handling plays in left field for the first time since Sept. 28, 2006, for the Angels. He also made one left-field appearance in 2009, but didn't get any chances hit his way.
Manager Eric Wedge "just said he wanted to give me an opportunity to play a little bit more," Figgins said. "I came up playing everywhere, so if they give me the opportunity to play, I'm all for it."
Figgins said it was "interesting" seeing balls hit his way from a different angle. Jose Bautista hit a run-scoring double over his head in the sixth inning, but the ball wasn't catchable.
Wedge left Figgins on the bench Wednesday after being visibly irked when the veteran was picked off base in Tuesday's game in Toronto.
"Obviously, with what we've seen on the field this year, he hasn't been getting enough time," Wedge said. "So I figured, to help us from a versatility standpoint, give him an opportunity to play a little bit more and maybe it helps him out too. I mean, if a guy is going to be here for a while, we've got to do everything we can to try to get him going."
Figgins went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in the Mariners' 7-5 loss and is batting .182.
Wedge said Figgins will play left field and third base for now, but can also play in center and right field if needed. There are no plans to use him at second base, where he struggled last season.
Earlier this year, Wedge was reluctant to move Figgins around the diamond, saying he was having a difficult enough time readjusting to third base.
Wedge was asked Thursday why he appeared to be changing his position on that — given that Figgins continues to make mistakes at third.
"If he was going out there and performing the way we'd hoped he would, I wouldn't be bothering at all," Wedge said. "You have to adjust to what's been going on."
• The Mariners called up reliever Josh Lueke from AAA Tacoma and optioned 3B Kyle Seager to the Rainiers. The move came after the M's bullpen was pressed into lengthy service Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lueke was 2-4 with 11 saves and a 2.76 earned-run average at Tacoma. He threw as many as 49 pitches in one outing, so Wedge has no qualms about using him for multiple innings. Seager was 3 for 26 in his first big-league stint, which lasted 13 days.
• Jack Wilson got a rare start at second base and went 0 for 2. Wedge said he started Wilson over Dustin Ackley, who drove in three runs and homered Wednesday, because he wanted to go with a veteran-laden lineup. The Mariners are likely to release Wilson if they can't find a deal with another club by the July 31 trade deadline. Ackley made a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth and popped out.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com
For the record: W-L 43-55; W PCT .439;
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