SEATTLE -- Before Chone Figgins had even played a regular-season inning in a Mariners uniform, he had already switched positions in the field and in the batting order from his previous year with the Angels.
He accepted his new spots on the diamond (second base, from third) and in the lineup (second, from leadoff) as a challenge that he'd embrace as part of helping a team win. And while that hasn't happened this year, with the Mariners at 50-78 heading into Saturday's game against the Twins, Figgins said he doesn't want to change it in 2011. Still, top prospect Dustin Ackley could be looking at a future at second base after switching to that position from first prior to the '10 season and advancing to Triple-A Tacoma.
"I want to play second base," Figgins said Saturday. "This is the decision that we chose to go with, and I'm not a person that gives up. I stick with whatever I'm given, and try to perfect it the best I can."
According to the defensive statistic known as Ultimate Zone Rating, Figgins was the best at third base in the American League in '10. But after switching to second -- a position he had hardly played while coming up in the Angels and Rockies' organizations -- he has fallen to fifth in the AL in those rankings.
"I think the thing that I still need to work on is obviously the ball going to my left, going toward first base," Figgins said. "That's a tough play for me. Earlier in the season and going through the course of the season, turning double plays, I think I've been real good at that. But it's still a work in progress. It's such a different side of the field, with attacking at third base versus not attacking at second. I still have to understand when to attack and when not to attack."
The same could be said for hitting, where Figgins had to adjust to batting behind Mariners leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki after batting first for the Angels in the most productive years of his career.
"I think during the first three months of the season, I wasn't attacking the game," Figgins said. "It had nothing to do with where I was hitting in the lineup. I just wasn't attacking the game. The second half of the season, I've been swinging the bat more like myself and having at-bats more like myself. I'm just trying to finish strong."
Figgins, who has been mentioned in trade rumors lately, said despite the tough year, he's still happy being a Mariner.
"I'm not going anywhere unless they tell me," Figgins said. "I don't want to go anywhere. I chose to come here, because I like the direction and I like the guys that are here. That's how I feel."