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Figgins expects luck to change

first_imgTEMPE, Ariz. – As Chone Figgins saw it this off-season, 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 just the words of encouragement he needed from good friend Juan Pierre, the Dodgers’ new center fielder. Figgins wondered aloud 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. “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 Florida, Pierre batted .276, a full 50 points less than the previous year. But he still scored 96 runs, stole 57 bases and gave his typical RBI production with 47. Figgins batted .267 last season, nearly 20 points below his career average. But he had 93 runs scored, 52 steals and had 62 RBI, which is a career high. Where Figgins proved costly were his struggles batting right-handed (.233) and his .336 on-base percentage, mostly out of the leadoff spot. center_img “With Figgy, there is no question that he attacked the ball better than his stats and average indicated,” 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.” 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 off-season. He is now awaiting for a shipment of gloves more than 12 inches in length. Brandon Wood took about 45 ground balls at third base and doesn’t think it will be that tough to adapt after playing shortstop for nearly all of his baseball 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.” Scioscia is starting to feel good about progress being made by Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver. Both had a long-toss throwing session for a second consecutive day. [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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