SEATTLE (AP) - Chone Figgins was in the Seattle Mariners lineup Saturday, a day after his very public dugout scuffle with manager Don Wakamatsu, although answers about the intense fifth-inning conflict were scarce.
The Mariners closed the clubhouse for nearly 30 minutes before Saturday’s game against Boston for a team meeting that featured coaches and players. Wakamatsu said issues that surfaced during the scuffle were addressed, although no one directly involved in the dustup was talking.
Approached when the clubhouse opened Figgins, who was still in jeans just minutes before the team took the field for batting practice, did not acknowledge reporters. Backup first baseman Casey Kotchman served as spokesman, snapping “he’s not ready to talk about it yet.”
Figgins turned down later requests to talk through a team spokesman. Jose Lopez, who ended up with his jersey over his head, also was missing from the clubhouse when reporters were allowed inside.
“(General manager) Jack (Zduriencik) and Chone and I all sat down and talked about what happened. Again, it’s more about the play, not so much about the individual,” Wakamatsu said. “But there is accountability, not just him, that we’re asking of everybody.”
The scuffle broke out in the middle of the fifth inning in Friday’s 2-1 loss to Boston. Wakamatsu was peeved that Figgins, who’s been struggling mightily all season in the first year of a $36 million, free-agent contract, was standing near second base as Boston’s Mike Cameron was pulling into second on a double into the left-field corner leading off the fifth.
Figgins inexplicably let the throw from Michael Saunders, which sailed over cutoff man Jack Wilson, bounce a few feet to his left and then dribble past the bag without moving toward it. Cameron alertly went to third on another boneheaded play by the Mariners in a week full of them.
When Figgins returned to the dugout and was told he was being benched, the second baseman began shouting across the length of the bench. That was followed by pushing between players and coaches who were trying to intervene; one Mariner climbing over others and lunging toward Figgins; the starting pitcher in the middle trying to make peace; and third baseman Lopez having his jersey pulled off his back.
An irate Figgins spent the last few innings stewing inside the clubhouse.
“No one wants to come out of a ball game. No one wants to be put in that situation, whether it’s Chone or somebody else, it’s not an easy situation. But it show you a little bit more about how much we care down here,” Wakamatsu said. “There are certain situations that you handle during the season that aren’t public and it happened to be public last night. We address every issue that happens during a ball game, last night it happened to be public.”
Zduriencik was 30 miles away in Tacoma, Wash., watching young pitching prospect Michael Pineda pitch and missed seeing the scuffle. He was brief in talking about his conversations with those involved, saying it was being handled in-house.
“During the course of the year there are times people get frustrated about things and things happen,” Zduriencik said. “At the end of the day it’s behind us.”