SEATTLE -- Going into Monday, the writing in small print under Chone Figgins' name in the Mariners' game notes said the third baseman had raised his batting average 61 points in the last 14 games. Granted, it went from .160 to .221, but he's hit in 11 of those 14 games, and has gone 18-for-59 (.305).
Figgins, who has been streaky at the plate over the years, said he feels a lot better than he did while struggling at the beginning of 2010. He attributed his early slumping to poor pitch selection and a small case of hard-hit balls occasionally finding fielders' gloves.
"Some balls are falling in more," Figgins said. "But at first, I was taking too many swings. I was a little erratic with putting balls in play, where I could have waited until the next pitch. Now, I'm not swinging at every pitch, and I'm just not putting every ball in play.
"A lot of times, with being a contact hitter, I put a lot of balls in play -- pitches I could take. And as a result, it gets me out when I could stay alive until the next pitch. A lot of times, what happens is, I'm not ready to hit or I'm overly aggressive because I don't want to be passive. Hitting balls hard and hitting it off the barrel is usually not a problem for me. My selection is the problem -- being not aggressive enough or too aggressive."
Figgins also said he occasionally falls into a pattern of thinking he can hit ground balls and beat the play to first base. But that's not his game.
"That's his game," he said, pointing to teammate Ichiro Suzuki. "When I went to the Angels, [hitting coach] Mickey [Hatcher] noticed that I'm not the fastest guy from home to first because of the way I hit, so I shouldn't try to beat out choppers and slow rollers. He told me to drive the ball through the infield, because I hit the ball hard.
"I've kept that in mind, but sometimes it's easy to forget."