Average, confidence rising for Figgins

Average, confidence rising for Figgins

SEATTLE -- Chone Figgins said he didn't realize that he had an eight-game hitting streak going until he heard it on the radio early Thursday morning.

"Hey, I guess that's a good thing," he said, laughing. "I guess I never figured it was possible with all those line drives I hit that keep getting caught."

Figgins has been in a better mood lately because he's batting .389 (14-for-36) during the streak and has raised his batting average from .246 to .280. He says it reminds him of the stretch in 2007 when set a career high with a .330 batting average and was the Major Leagues' top hitter from May 31 through the end of the season, batting .381 (134-for-352).

Hitting coach Mickey Hatcher agrees, saying the work the two have put in lately is paying off.

"He went on that tear two years ago, and it just comes with confidence," Hatcher said. "Right now, he's starting to feel that swing."

Hatcher said he has worked with Figgins on the mechanics of "trying to get into a position and feeling a certain finish in his swing, and not worrying where he's hitting the ball.

"We're just trying to create a good finish feeling, where he feels like he's driving through it and getting inside that ball. It clicked a couple weeks ago with him, and he's been carrying it out there ever since."

Figgins gave a perfect example of his latest approach in the at-bat that led off Wednesday night's game. Seattle starter Chris Jakubauskas threw a called strike on the first pitch before Figgins fouled off the next four pitches. Figgins worked the count to 2-2 by taking two straight balls, then fouled off four more pitches in a row. Figgins took one more ball to make it a full count before grounding out to second base.

"That's kind of the way it's been lately," he said. "Sometimes I'm more of a one-hit guy. I feel like I can get one in every game. But I've always talked about at-bats through the course of a game. If you're having three or four strong at-bats, more times than not you can get a hit or two in a game.

"Early on, I was kind of having one or two good at-bats and walking, and now it's three to four a game where I'm putting together good swings. And it's hard, especially when you hit line drives and ground balls. You're gonna get robbed."

Figgins has been getting robbed less and less this week as the hits are starting to fall. He said his confidence grows with every hard-fought plate appearance.

"I'm just trying to get deep into counts without giving up a pitch to hit," Figgins said. "When I do stuff like that, I've always been a good two-strike hitter. I just think I'm having better at-bats.

"Just fouling off pitches, putting good swings on them and just missing, but I think the more I concentrate on having better at-bats, the better off the end result is."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.