We just talked with Mike Carp and one of things he mentioned was that manager Don Wakamatsu told him he was brought up to play. And Wakmatsu proved it by starting him tonight at first base and batting fifth.
"We're going to give him a chance to play," Wakamatsu said of Carp. "I brought in Casey and we talked. We're going to give him a chance to maybe work on some things and continue to get his swing where he feels comfortable with it. Right now, we are going to give Carp an opportunity to play."
Carp talked a little about his early struggles.
"It happens, players go through slumps," he said. "Every now and then you are going to go through one. Fortunately mine happened at the beginning of the year, and I was able to get out of it."
For Carp, there was one hit that ignited him out of the slump, but it wasn't the type of hit you'd think of.
"I was going for a sac bunt and it ended up turning into a base hit," he said. "Ever since then it seems like things have turned around. We were trying to move a runner over to third late in the ball game and I got a basehit."
Carp said the next day he showed up at Cheney Stadium a little more relaxed and has hit since then.
But that was probably the least surprising aspect of tonight's lineup.
A quick glance showed Chone Figgins has been dropped from the No. 2 spot to ninth, while Milton Bradley will slide into Figgins vacated spot.
Figgins seemed relatively surprised by the move. The last time he batted ninth was June 5, 2007 against the Twins. And the guy batting lead-off was Reggie Willits.
"I'm going to be swinging, you can bet on that," he said.
When told he'd been hitting well lately (.343 in his last 1o games), Figgins smirked and said: "Apparently not."
Figgins didn't want to say much more about being moved there and the reasons for the move, telling us to "talk to (Wakamatsu) first and then come talk to me."
So we did.
"Just offensively, we've played 56 games or so and we're looking to change some things up again," Wakamatsu said. "We have had some stretches where we've swung the bat pretty good. Figgy has swung the bat better lately. I think he's going to continue to work on it. He's a great player and he's going to end up having decent numbers when it's all said and done. But we're looking at it more to try and get Milton in the 2-hole and give him more at-bats and see if we can't get him going. It still puts us where we have two lead-off men back to back. It's a broader picture than him just moving to nine."
It's understandable for Figgins to be upset, but if this somehow kick starts the offense then it's justified.
"It's just a way to see if we can generate more offense that way," Wakamatsu said. "What we are looking at is that we've went down the road with him in that position (No. 2) and we're not getting enough run production (as a team). We're just looking at any we can. It's not a knock on Figgy. He's a guy that went through some struggles and has worked extremely hard lately. It's not just pointing a finger at him. It's looking if we can more production out of the whole lineup."
Wakamatsu was asked if the benching of Kotchman or the dropping of Figgins in the order was a way of sending a message to other players that they better start performing.
"We have to score runs," Wakamatsu said. "We have to score enough runs to win ball games and we haven't done that. We're always looking at how we can improve ourselves."
- Ichiro RF
- Milton Bradley DH
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Mike Carp 1B
- Josh Wilson SS
- Michael Saunders LF
- Rob Johnson C
- Chone Figgins 2B
LHP Cliff Lee
- Craig Gentry LF
- Michael Young 3B
- Ian Kinsler 2B
- Vlad Guerrero DH
- Josh Hamilton CF
- Joaquin Arias 1B
- David Murphy RF
- Matt Treanor C
- Andres Blanco SS
RHP Scott Feldman