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Angels notes: Figgins focuses on positive

first_img“Talking to Pierre, he said, `Man, it’s just one of those years,”‘ Figgins said about the conversation with his former roommate in the Colorado Rockies’ organization. “He said he had one in ’05. He said it was the best year he had but he ended up hitting less than he usually did. But because he was consistent, he was able to look at his numbers on paper and see that he had decent numbers.” In 2005 with the Florida Marlins, Pierre batted .276, 50points less than the previous year. But he still had 96 runs, 57stolen bases and his typical RBI production of 47. Figgins batted .267 last season, nearly 20 points below his career average. But he had 93 runs, 52 steals and 62 RBIs, a career high. Where Figgins proved costly were his struggles batting right-handed (.233) and his .336on-base percentage, mostly out of the leadoff spot. Figgins wondered what changes he might be able to work on this spring to change his poor fortune. He thought that maybe a switch here or a tweak there might prevent some of the hard-hit balls that found opponents’ gloves in 2006. Pierre suggested he keep things just as they are. TEMPE, Ariz. – As Chone Figgins saw it this winter, his optimism for the upcoming season far outweighed the hit he took to his pride. After a substandard year that Figgins blames mostly on bad luck, he got the words of encouragement he needed from good friend Juan Pierre, the Dodgers’ new center fielder. center_img “With Figgy, there is no question that he attacked the ball better than his stats and average indicated,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s just one of those years where he did hit the ball better than his numbers reflected. I think right-handed he wasn’t as crisp. He has a nice right-handed swing; he just has to start to get that confidence back.” Figgins was demoted to the No. 9 spot in the lineup late last season, which is his projected spot in the order this year. “Yeah, it does (sting) because I pride myself on touching home plate more than anybody,” Figgins said about batting last. “But (Gary MatthewsJr.) has proven himself that he can be the guy at the top of the order and I have proven that I can hit anywhere and still be productive. I’m happy he’s here and hopefully he can keep doing what he’s doing and we can be a dangerous team.” Going even bigger: After complying with the Angels’ request to try a larger glove, Figgins said the team has requested he try an even bigger size. Figgins said he was using an 11 -inch glove last season and changed to an 11 -inch glove this offseason. He is now awaiting a shipment of gloves more than 12 inches in length. “They said just try it and you never know,” Figgins said. Moving to third: Brandon Wood took about 45 groundballs at third base and said he doesn’t think it will be that tough to adapt after playing shortstop for nearly all of his career. “The main thing for me is to make sure my timing is on,” Wood said. “I won’t be able to track the ball all the way into the hitter. “At shortstop you get an idea of the location and you can kind of break to the area you think it might go. At third you have to take your eye off the pitcher, pick a zone and let it come to you.” Wood gathered plenty of advice, saying he has received tips in recent days from Figgins, Dallas McPherson, infield coach Alfredo Griffin, Double-A coach Keith Johnson, minor-league field coordinator Bruce Hines and Cedar Rapids manager Bobby Magallanes. Wood will work with Robb Quinlan today on the proper technique for fielding bunts. Positive progress: Scioscia is starting to feel good about progress by Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver. Both had a long-toss throwing session for a second consecutive day. Scioscia said Weaver (biceps tendinitis) might have his first bullpen session after about two or three more days of long toss. Finger surgery: Minor-league catcher Brent Del Chiaro ended up having threepins inserted into the tip of his right middle finger during surgery Wednesday for a broken bone. He will be re-examined in three weeks but still is expected to miss eight weeks. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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