09/11/2002 8:58 pm ET
MLBeat: Postseason for Figgins?
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chone Figgins is living a lifelong dream and might be very close to realizing another.
Figgins, the 24-year-old infielder who spent most of the year at Triple-A Salt Lake, has carved a valuable role for himself as a pinch runner for the Angels as they battle for a playoff spot.
He is recognized as the fastest player on the team, and already, Figgins' exceptional speed has paid off.
In his first big-league appearance, Figgins entered a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning Aug. 25 at Fenway Park in Boston.
He came in to pinch-run, took third base on a Shawn Wooten single, and scored the winning run on a squeeze play when David Eckstein laid down a bunt.
On Sept. 7 in Baltimore, the Angels were deadlocked at 2-2 in Baltimore. In the 10th inning, Troy Glaus drew a walk, so Figgins ran for him and stole second base. He scored the winning run on a Tim Salmon single.
In tight postseason games with every run at a premium, Figgins' baserunning talents could come in very handy. With the possibility that fewer pitchers could be needed on a 25-man playoff roster because of the five- and seven-game series structure, that could create openings for specialists like Figgins.
According to bench coach Joe Maddon, that's something the Angels are looking at very seriously.
"He has a solid chance because of the role he fits into," Maddon said. "There's a definite need for pinch-runners at times, and he's demonstrated that's he's very good at it."
Figgins, who hit .305 with 18 triples, 100 runs scored and 39 stolen bases for Salt Lake this season, said he's simply overjoyed to be in the big leagues but that the possibility of being on the playoff roster has crossed his mind.
"It's something I thought about when I got up here," Figgins said. "Just to play a part and be on the roster now gives me a chance to show the kind of job I can do under pressure. That's something I take pride in."
Glaus, Salmon sit: Troy Glaus didn't start Wednesday for the second straight night because of soreness from two jammed fingers on his left hand suffered while stealing a base Monday night. Manager Mike Scioscia reiterated that Glaus is day-to-day and would be used as a defensive replacement -- as he was in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 5-2 win -- or possibly as a pinch-hitter.
Salmon was given the day off and was replaced in right field by Orlando Palmeiro, who was penciled in to bat third. Scioscia said the move was made to prepare for left-handed starters coming up. "Tonight's a good night to get him off his feet and get Orlando in there," Scioscia said.
Callaway for Thursday: Scioscia said the Angels have decided to pitch Mickey Callaway on Thursday against the A's and lefty Mark Mulder, thereby keeping the starters in their normal rotation.
The Angels had flirted with pitching staff ace Jarrod Washburn on three days' rest, but Scioscia said the team wouldn't make any decisions like that just yet.
"We're going to wait and see how matchups go down the line," Scioscia said. "Right now, it works better to keep Jarrod on his four days' rest."
Fantasy Edge: Palmeiro is batting .358 (48-for-134) in his career vs. the A's. He batted .323 with 13 RBIs in 21 games as the right fielder after Salmon was injured in mid-August.
Doug Miller covers the Angels for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.