Chone Figgins will play less
Eric Wedge has moved past hinting at the fact that we could see a lot less of Chone Figgins.
“He’s not going to get as much playing time. He knows that,” Wedge said before today’s game.
Lack of production and lack of a position with Dustin Ackley up have led to this, as has the performance of Adam Kennedy. Kennedy cannot play everyday but it is hard for Wedge to keep him out of the lineup.
“He’s a better player when we give him strategic days off,” he said, “but that is hard to do because we are a better team when he is in there. We will continue to play more. He’s going to play more at third obviously but we will still need to give him those days off to keep him at the level where we need him.”
As for Figgins, Wedge realizes that it would be best for everyone if he were able to get back to the form he had in his days with the Angels but he cannot afford to keep putting him out there. Figgins has been given opportunities but nights like last night are not helping him build his case for playing time.
“He wants to get going more than anybody,” Wedge said. “I want him to get going more than anybody but he is in between right now. That’s not where you want to be. We will pick our spots to get him in there and hopefully he can start to head in the right direction.”
Last night Figgins said his biggest struggle was that it was hard to get into a rhythm when he is not playing every day. He was not complaining about playing time, rather telling us what he was facing. He said that it was something he would have to get used to.
Figgins has not grumbled about playing time. This is not a situation like last year. His answers about his struggles have been similar to answers he has given when in like situations in the past. He has a hard time talking about or even acknowledging the negative. It is a part of who he is. His belief in himself is one of the things that got him to where he is today. He had to battle at every level to get here.
I sometimes wonder if that unshakable belief is a problem. I asked Wedge if he felt that maybe Figgins needed to be a little tougher on himself. Wedge said that he believed that he was on the inside but was masking it on the outside.
“It’s hard to mask it though, and I think that’s where he gets in between too,” Wedge said.
“He has to be honest with himself,” Wedge continued, “and he has to be the one who does it. We have had all of the conversations. He’s going to have to dig deep and fight through this thing. You can’t get through this thing in a passive manner, you have got to fight through this thing. You can’t get through this in a passive manner. He is neck deep in it right now and he is going to have to fight through it. We are going to give him all the support we can give him and then go from there.”
Wedge was echoing what he said after last night’s game. He wants to see Figgins get more aggressive. Not just on the field, but off. He has been somewhat aggressive at the plate but he wants to see him more aggressive in the field. Don’t think that a ball may go off your glove and Brendan Ryan might have a chance to get it, attack the play. Chone has always been very even keeled in his demeanor regardless of his performance.
Maybe it is time to get angry. Maybe that could help. Wedge wants to see something. Something different.
One other note from the pregame talk:
Your number two hitter today was…Dustin Ackley. Will we see him there tomorrow when Brendan Ryan comes back? Wedge does not know yet but it is certainly a possibility. He has been struggling to find the right lineup and see that lineup produce for almost three months now. He would like to see it shake itself out soon, and Ackley could indeed find himself near the top.
“You can’t run away from Ackley,” Wedge said. “We can’t ignore what you see. I am not going to be stubborn and keep him down at the bottom just because he is a young kid when he is up there swinging the way his is swinging.”
Wedge is looking at Ackley less and less as a rookie and more and more as a big part of the solution and despite the struggles of late he sees it going in the right direction.
“We still have a long way to go, more than half the year,” he said. “The story of this season is not what we have done, the story of this season is going to be what is ahead of us. That is the way I look at it.”