Mariners talk out differences after Wakamatsu-Figgins incident
The Mariners did what they could to put their house back in order again Saturday, less than 24 hours after some fractures showed in the foundation.
It started when second baseman Chone Figgins did not cover second base as he should have on a throw to the infield from left fielder Michael Saunders. Saunders was charged with an error, but it was Figgins’ job to cover the base, and he didn’t.
That was egregious enough for manager Don Wakamatsu to take Figgins out of the game, and Figgins got in his face between the top and bottom of the sixth inning to express his displeasure. Teammates came in to make sure Figgins and the manager didn’t get into it, and in fact the two men never touched each other.
On Saturday afternoon, the clubhouse was closed for a team meeting, a meeting that followed a summit among Wakamatsu, Figgins and general manager Jack Zduriencik. After that, Figgins was back in the lineup, which was a bit surprising after having just questioned Wakamatsu’s authority and job performance.
“The door was closed for a while, but the (team) meeting only lasted five minutes,” Wakamatsu said. “It touched on what happened last night, and it touched on accountability. I’d say the reaction was real good. We’re playing hard. We want to win every game we’re in. We’re right with our fans on that.
“Jack and Chone and I sat and talked about what happened, about the play but also about accountability from everybody.”
Wakamatsu was asked why Figgins’ mistake was singled out when there have been literally dozens of mistakes made in recent games. Most of them have been while running the bases, and the manager said therein lies a difference.
“Not all mistakes are cut-and-dried situations,” he said. “There have been some situations that were not public. This one was public last night.”
Figgins didn’t talk with the media at all before the game, and although Zduriencik did talk, he said very little. Zduriencik did make it clear, however, that in matters of the field, “Don is our manager – he makes out the lineup.”
And Figgins was in the lineup.
John Hickey is a national baseball writer for AOL FanHouse (www.fanhouse.com).