07/24/10 2:23 AM ET
Wakamatsu, Figgins argue, fracas ensues
Botched relay leads to second baseman being removed
By Mike McCall / MLB.com
In the middle of the fifth inning, Wakamatsu pulled Figgins after he perceived a lack of hustle from his second baseman on a play in the top half of the inning, when a relay throw from left fielder Michael Saunders rolled through the infield. That allowed Boston's Mike Cameron to advance to third after his double, but he did not score.
Wakamatsu and Figgins exchanged words in the dugout, and a short skirmish broke out involving several members of the team. TV replays showed Jose Lopez -- with Figgins behind him -- being restrained by Jack Wilson and Ryan Rowland-Smith while Russell Branyan was held back by multiple teammates.
Minutes later, Josh Wilson, who said he was told to start getting warmed up right after the botched relay, took Figgins' place in the batter's box and hit a double. Figgins watched the rest of the game from his locker in the team clubhouse.
Wakamatsu declined to comment much on the incident, saying, "What happens in [the dugout] stays in there." He did say Figgins will not be suspended, but he didn't respond when asked if Figgins would be in Saturday's lineup. The question was posed as Wakamatsu left the podium at the end of his press conference.
Figgins and Lopez were not available for comment.
"I think Figgy is a little misinterpreted at times," said Branyan, who visited Figgins in the clubhouse. "He sat right there in his chair, watched the rest of the game and supported his team. I know a lot of guys in that situation would have come in, showered up and gone home.
"I think what he had to say [to Wakamatsu] came from emotions, and he didn't really have time to think about it. It was two men, they voiced their opinions, and they had opinions each other didn't like."
Saunders said he overthrew shortstop Jack Wilson, so Figgins' mistake apparently happened on the backup.
The play that resulted in Figgins being benched is the latest in a string of miscues by the Mariners in recent games. Previous baserunning mistakes by Lopez, Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans went unpunished, Wakamatsu said, because they weren't solely from a lack of effort.
"I think you're talking about baserunning plays, and not all those are cut and dried," Wakamatsu said. "I thought this one was cut and dried."
Wakamatsu was ejected from Wednesday's game against the White Sox after arguing on Figgins' behalf.
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.