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Mariners Notebook: Figgins, Griffey finally get hits

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By Kirby Arnold
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. watches his double against the Kansas City Royals in a spring training baseball game Friday.

    Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press

    Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. watches his double against the Kansas City Royals in a spring training baseball game Friday.

PEORIA, Ariz. — Chone Figgins had been Mr. On-Base Percentage so far at spring training for the Seattle Mariners, which is a nice way of diverting attention away from his .000 batting average.
Entering Friday, his seven walks in 16 plate appearances gave him a .438 on-base percentage even though he didn’t have a hit.
In the Mariners’ 6-6 tie with the Kansas City Royals, Figgins broke that skid with a two-run triple in the fifth inning. His teammates, in mock appreciation, had the game ball thrown out of play and presented it to Figgins.
“I have an average,” Figgins said. “I feel like I’m part of the team now.”
The hits haven’t fallen, but Figgins has been pleased with his at-bats so far and seems ecstatic about batting second behind Ichiro Suzuki.
“In this era, there aren’t many guys who are leadoff guys hitting back-to-back,” Figgins said. “It’s good for me now because I get to see where they pitch him, and they’re pretty much going to pitch me the same way. It’s good for both of us because we’re going to see a lot of pitches. And when we do get on base we’re going to create a lot of havoc.”
Suzuki and Figgins are scheduled to play their fourth straight game together today when the Mariners host the Giants, and someone asked if they also would play Sunday and Monday against the Rockies and Diamondbacks in Tucson.
Unsure how to answer, Figgins turned to Suzuki, who was sitting at the next locker.
“Ichi, we going to Tucson?” Figgins asked.
Suzuki thought for a couple of seconds and answered, in English, “Yeah, two days in a row.”
“Well,” Figgins said, turning to reporters, “there’s your answer.”
Then Suzuki stepped forward and, again in English, added, “Hell no!”
“The good thing about having a veteran on your side is that he gets to call the shots,” Figgins said, “and I just follow behind him.”
Ken Griffey Jr. also ended his 0-for-spring with a double to the warning track in center field in the fifth inning. And, like Figgins, the team presented him with the ball. Griffey also hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Aardsma feeling no pain
Closer David Aardsma admitted he was scared after his right groin tightened up on the final pitch he threw in his first exhibition game on March 4. That’s why he considered his outing Friday a success even though he allowed one hit, one walk, a strikeout and a run in 2/3 inning. He had reached his 20-pitch limit when Wakamatsu pulled him.
“I did exactly what I wanted to do,” Aardsma said. “I wanted to walk away healthy and feeling good, and I did that. And I made some good pitches along the way, a couple of good ground balls, strikeout and then the popup. Can’t be too down about it.”
For a short time after his first outing, Aardsma was worried because he’d battled groin problems early in his career. This, however, was tightness lower in the muscle and he was back on the bullpen mound in just a few days. He missed only one scheduled turn in the games.
“When it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it was initially, it was a great feeling,” Aardsma said. “You don’t want to be missing outings. I could have been a little sharper with a couple of pitches here and there but I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to.”
Today in camp
The Mariners host the Giants at 12:05 p.m. in Peoria, with the game aired on ESPN 710 AM radio. Right-hander Doug Fister, hoping to win the fifth starter’s job, will make his third exhibition start for the Mariners. Also on the Mariners’ pitching list are left-hander Garrett Olson and right-handers Mark Lowe, Levale Speigner, Anthony Varvaro, Yusmeiro Petit and Sean White. Right-hander Kevin Pucetas will start for the Giants.
Of note
Milton Bradley’s eventful game featured a strong throw from left-center field to throw out Scott Podsednik, who tried to stretch his single in the first inning, followed by a standing ovation from many of the fans behind the dugout as Bradley came off the field after the third out. Bradley also went 2-for-3 with a double but was picked off first base by Royals left-hander (and former Mariner) John Parrish. … Ryan Rowland-Smith allowed four hits, a walk and three earned runs in two innings, fighting sporadic control problems. “It’s spring training and you’re going to give up hits and leave the ball up,” he said. “Things aren’t going to be the way you want them. That’s just the way it is, and it’s something to work on in the bullpen.” … Erik Bedard’s recovery from left shoulder surgery has gone so well that he may throw off the bullpen mound in about 10 days. Bedard had surgery Aug. 14 to repair a torn labrum and, even amid reports that he might be pitching as early as May or June, the Mariners didn’t think he’d get onto a mound before spring training ended. … The latest t-shirt to be distributed in the clubhouse, courtesy Ken Griffey Jr. of course, featured a photo of pitching coach Rick Adair from his much younger, mustached and non-gray-haired days with the Indians. … The Mariners are expected to announce another round of roster cuts today, this time involving position players. Need a clue? Seen moving their belongings out of the big-league clubhouse Friday afternoon were first basemen Brad Nelson and Tommy Everidge and outfielders Greg Halman and Mike Wilson. … Felix Hernandez pitched in the bullpen Friday in his last tuneup before his first exhibition outing Sunday against the Rockies in Tucson. … Left-hander Ryan Feierabend, optioned to Class AAA Tacoma in the first round of cuts Wednesday, probably will remain in Arizona when the Rainiers’ season begins and join the team at the end of April. That will allow Feierabend, who had “Tommy John” elbow surgery almost 13 months ago, to avoid a heavy workload of innings early in the season and be available if the Mariners need him for the stretch drive.
Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog
Story tags » BaseballMajor League Baseball

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