By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
PEORIA, Ariz. — The Seattle Mariners committed three errors Saturday in their 8-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, two in the eighth inning by Chone Figgins, who has played well so far in his conversion to second base. Figgins allowed one fairly slow bouncer roll between his legs and had a chopper to his left carom off the heel of his glove when he charged and tried to catch it on the short hop.
Wakamatsu said the hard infield at Peoria Stadium was more responsible for the errors than anything Figgins did. In the first inning, shortstop Josh Wilson made a similar error when he booted a grounder that he’d charged, leading to the three unearned runs against Fister.
“When we had all that rain (last week), there were some plays he made that were unbelievable,” Wakamatsu said of Figgins. “And you’re looking at a guy like Josh Wilson at shortstop. He can flat play some shortstop, and you’ve seen some balls kick up on him. We’re going to try and get the field watered down a little bit, but the problem is that it dries out so fast with this wind out there.”
Eric Byrnes, a veteran hoping to win the backup outfield spot, learned exactly how hard the infield was.
He doubled to the left-center field gap in the fifth inning and, as he sped toward second base, attempted a head-first bellyflop into the bag. He flopped so hard that his face took the brunt of the impact.
Byrnes lay on the ground a few seconds, looking like a bird that had just flown into a window, then sprang to his feet as Wakamatsu and trainer Rick Griffin jogged out to check on him.
“He might as well have gotten into a car wreck,” Wakamatsu said. “He hurt his chin, his nose and both elbows. Nothing serious, but it’s going to leave a mark tomorrow. He said, ‘How’s my nose look? Does it affect my looks?’ I said, ‘No, you were ugly before.’”