SAN DIEGO -- Chone Figgins is back in the big leagues, which is news in itself as the utility man didn't play in the major leagues in 2013. Well, it isn't really news today, as Figgins made the team when his contract was purchased on March 16.
But it was news to Adam Kennedy, who played with Figgins on the Angels from 2002-2006. Kennedy, who played his final major league season with the Dodgers in 2012 (at age 36, the same age Figgins is now), was watching Friday night's Freeway Series game and tweeted this:
Figgins actually is on the Dodgers? Highest payroll in baseball and you have him on ur team?— Adam Kennedy (@KennedyBaseball) March 29, 2014
The Twitter handle @KennedyBaseball isn't verified and was set up to promote Kennedy's baseball academy, but looking through the history of tweets it is clearly Kennedy doing most, if not all, of the tweeting.
After getting several replies from people wondering why Kennedy was disparaging his former teammate, he became even more defiant:
Keep it coming!! Check the numbers people— Adam Kennedy (@KennedyBaseball) March 29, 2014
Haaaaa I was an extremely average player but not a shitty teammate!!— Adam Kennedy (@KennedyBaseball) March 29, 2014
At issue appears to be an incident involving a sacrifice bunt attempt by Kennedy on May 18, 2006 in Toronto that resulted in a force out of Figgins at third base. The game report from Mike DiGiovanna and Gary Klein in the Los Angeles Times explains:
Kennedy criticized Figgins for not getting a good jump, and Figgins took exception. Tensions built as the Angels failed to score after putting the go-ahead run on third with one out in the eighth and the winning run on third with no outs in the ninth. Kennedy popped out with Figgins on third for the first out of the ninth.
As reporters spoke to Scioscia after the game, an argument between two players -- believed to be Figgins and reliever Brendan Donnelly -- could be heard emanating from the shower area of the clubhouse.
Outfielder Darin Erstad, unaware the media was in Scioscia's office, then issued a scathing admonishment of his teammates, screaming, "This is going to stop right ... now! There's going to be no finger-pointing! We either go down as a team or we win the whole
Donnelly said Erstad's tirade "was not uncalled for," and added, "I'd point a finger at anyone wearing an Angel emblem, because we're a team, and we have to stay as one. No one man is bigger than the team."
Eight years later, the wound is apparently still fresh to Kennedy.
When asked on Sunday if he saw the tweets from Kennedy, Figgins pleaded ignorance.
"Who? I don't know who that is," Figgins said with a smile.
Asked again for comment, Figgins' reply was the same.
"I don't know who that is. Who?" Figgins asked. "If I knew who it was, I would [comment]. but I don't."
Figgins, who played with the Angels through 2009, hit a two-run double in Saturday's Freeway Series finale, which brought another smile to his face.
"It felt real good, especially against them," Figgins explained. "Against your old teams you always want to get hits. You always try to beat up on your old teammates."
That Figgins made the Dodgers roster was a surprise, not only because he was out of baseball in 2013, but also because he hit a combined .185/.249/.253 in 147 games in 2011-2012. His good year of the last three (2012) saw Figgins hit .181 with a .533 OPS.
Figgins played often in spring training, needing to get as many at-bats as possible to get his timing back. He played in 19 of the Dodgers' 24 spring training games and started six different positions, seven if you count designated hitter. Figgins hit just .200 (8-for-40) but he also drew nine walks and had a .340 on-base percentage.
"My timing is getting better," Figgins said. "I was catching a lot of balls out front, but now it's like the ball is starting to slow down. I'm getting pitches to hit more in the middle of the plate and putting better swings on them."
Figgins walked in his only plate appearance in the two regular season games in Australia. Manager Don Mattingly sees improvement at the plate.
"He gives us what we want right now, a guy who can play all over the diamond and knows how to play, a guy on the bench who can do a lot of things," Mattingly said. "Figgy fits the bill for us."
Perhaps Kennedy summed it up best.
Don't you just love baseball season!!— Adam Kennedy (@KennedyBaseball) March 29, 2014