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Seattle shuffles lineup, moves Figgins to No. 9

Seattle shuffles lineup, moves Figgins to No. 9

ARLINGTON -- Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu made a number of lineup changes for Monday's game vs. the Rangers, breaking up the top of lineup and committing for now to a new first baseman.

For the first time all season, second baseman Chone Figgins was not batting behind leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki, but basically in front of him as the No. 9 hitter.

Mike Carp was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma earlier Monday to replace the injured Mike Sweeney (lower back inflammation) and was in the starting lineup instead of Casey Kotchman and batting fifth.

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Figgins, who has struggled most of the season, was the most curious move. He went 8-for-24 during the just-completed homestand and had a six-game hitting streak from May 28 to last Wednesday. He was batting .294 over his last 19 games, improving his batting average from .182 to .220.

Asked Monday whether he was swinging the bat better, Figgins said, "Apparently not," eluding to where he was hitting in the batting order.

Wakamatsu said the coaching staff was looking to change things up by dropping Figgins down to the No. 9 spot in the order.

"We've had some stretches where we've swung the bat pretty good," Wakamatsu said. "This gives us an opportunity [to switch things up]. Figgins has been swinging the bat better lately. He's going to continue to work on it. He's a great player. He's going to end up having decent numbers when it's all said and done."

The Mariners' manager also said he was trying to get Milton Bradley going by batting him second.

"We're looking at it more at maybe trying to get Milton in that two-hole and give him more at-bats," Wakamatsu said. "And that still puts us where we have two leadoff men back-to-back. So it's a broader picture than just him hitting ninth. [Figgins] has swung the bat pretty good lately. It's something we just want to switch it up a little."

Wakamatsu said dropping Figgins down is not an indictment of the second baseman. It's the first time he's batted ninth since 2007 with the Los Angeles Angels.

"It's not a knock on Figgie," Wakamatsu said. "Figgie's a good player. He's a guy we know has gone through some struggles and he's worked extremely hard lately. It's not just pointing a finger at him. It's if we can get more production out of the whole lineup."

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