The Seattle Mariners preach versatility on their roster, and they're practicing it in their first full day of workouts - playing Chone Figgins at second base and Jose Lopez at third.
General manager Jack Zduriencik said the new-look infield was something the team had talked about after signing free agent Figgins.
"It's something we want to look at, so why not sooner rather than later?" Zduriencik said.
Manager Don Wakamatsu talked to Lopez about his playing third, and said nothing is set in the infield yet.
"Jose will take ground balls at second and third, and so will Chone," Wakamatsu said. "Jose wants to win, and if playing third gives us a better chance to do that, he's fine with it."The idea is a intriguing, and having Franklin Gutierrez in center field, Jack Wilson at shortstop and Figgins at second base would likely be the Mariners strongest option up the middle.
The question is whether Lopez can play third. New infield/third base coach Mike Brumley is going to find out, and Lopez at third could be the project of the camp.
For now, it's just infield drills. But having Figgins take the groundrs at second—and putting Lopez at third—for the first drills of camp seems like a message being sent.
Lopez has limited range at second, and Figgins is far quicker and can play anywhere on the field, For a team built around its pitching, an improved up-the-middle defense might add up to wins.