Figgins getting 'couple of days' off to regroup

Figgins getting 'couple of days' off to regroup

SEATTLE -- Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins, mired in a lengthy slump that has dropped his batting average to .190, will be given "a couple of days" off to regroup, manager Eric Wedge said prior to the team's game against Baltimore on Tuesday night.

Figgins will be temporarily replaced at third base by utility infielder Luis Rodriguez, who was penciled into the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

Figgins has two hits in his past 39 at-bats, which includes a current 0-for-22 stretch. Wedge gave Figgins Friday off in the hope of jump-starting the 33-year-old, but he's gone hitless in 12 at-bats since.

"I'm going to give Chone a couple of days, just to get away from it a little bit," Wedge said. "Obviously we've been doing a lot of thinking about him and a couple of other guys, too. We're just looking to navigate through the best way we feel we can to get him back on track as quick as possible.

"We've got a long way to go. Figgy, when it's all said and done, is going to have a very good year and is going to be a big part of what we're trying to do here. But right now, we're going to give him a couple of days."

Figgins, in the second year of a four-year, $36 million contract, got off to a slow start last season as well and was hitting .198 on May 29. But he came on strong in the second half and finished the season with a .259 average and 42 stolen bases.

The veteran drew loud boos during Monday's 4-3 victory over the Orioles, particularly on a couple of fielding misplays late in the game, and Wedge acknowledged he's trying to take care of the player as well as help his team.

"I want to protect him because he's a good person, a good baseball player," Wedge said. "He's just going through a tough spell right now. I've seen this young man play for a lot of years, and I know what he's capable of doing for the baseball club. It's easy to jump off when someone is struggling a little bit, but that's not my way. I believe in the person, the man, the player. But he's human, and we just need to give him a couple days."

Wedge said Figgins wants to continue playing through his troubles, but he is "strong enough" to handle the current course.

"I just felt like with some of the things I'm seeing, he's probably better suited to getting a couple of days in a row right now," Wedge said. "It's a series of steps. It can go either way. I've seen it go both ways when you make some of these changes, but it's my job to do what I feel is best for him, which ultimately will be best for the team."