Figgins dressed to the nines

Figgins dressed to the nines

ANAHEIM -- Chone Figgins is hoping 9-9-09 is kind to the man inside No. 9 for the Angels.

"Maybe the numbers are lined up right for me," the third baseman and leadoff man said, grinning.

The numbers have aligned themselves nicely for Figgins all season long, giving him his first All-Star Game nod. Free of injuries for the first time since 2006, he has busted out with a career year, improving across the board in almost every category offensively while putting himself in contention for a Rawlings Gold Glove with his spectacular play at third base.

"We've got a ways to go," Figgins said, "but it's been a pretty good year so far. We have to keep on pushing now, take it to the finish line."

That, he hopes, is in late October, perhaps even early November.

But before they can start thinking about postseason possibilities, the Angels must address a need to make it clear to the American League West that they are the rightful rulers.

The division has been rough on its two-time defending champions all year long, but the Angels have a month to rectify that.

As for Figgins, he's happy to adorn No. 9 -- or any other Major League number, if you want the truth.

"I was No. 6 when I first got here in '02 to be a pinch-runner," Figgins said. "When Jose Guillen got here, he wanted 6, so they gave me 9. I've had it ever since.

"It's funny, but one of my best friends in the world -- Juan Pierre -- also wears 9. A couple of other guys I know, from [Arizona] Fall League, also wear No. 9: Hank Blalock [of the Rangers] and David DeJesus [of the Royals].

"It's a good number, with a lot of history to it. It's been good to me."

Pitching matchup
LAA: RHP Jered Weaver (14-5, 3.79 ERA)
Weaver established a career high with his 14th win against the Royals in his last start. He also had his third scoreless outing his last four starts. Weaver threw seven scoreless innings against Kansas City, scattering nine hits while striking out six. That performance came on the heels of six shutout innings against Oakland on Aug. 29. Throw in Weaver's shutout against the Indians on Aug. 19, and he's been one of the league's hottest pitchers over the last three weeks. Weaver has made two starts against Seattle in 2009 with both of those coming in April. He's 1-1 against the Mariners and has allowed four earned runs in 12 innings.

SEA: RHP Ian Snell (6-9, 5.21 ERA)
Despite picking up a win in his last start, against the A's, Snell admitted after the game he was far from perfect while struggling with command of his fastball, sinker and changeup. He scattered three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and four walks while striking out four through five innings. This will mark Snell's first career start against the Angels.

Adding depth across the roster, the Angels purchased the contract of outfielder Chris Pettit on Tuesday while recalling outfielder Terry Evans, infielder Freddy Sandoval, catcher Ryan Budde and right-handed reliever Rafael Rodriguez from Triple-A Salt Lake. All but Pettit have appeared in Major League games. Similar to versatile Reggie Willits, Pettit gives the Angels another late-game base-running option and can play all three outfield spots. Evans tied for third in the Pacific Coast League with 26 homers and was sixth with 90 RBIs. ... Howard Kendrick has a six-game hitting streak (.478) and is batting .361 in 133 at-bats since returning from Salt Lake on July 4. ... Juan Rivera, in a 3-for-24 slump, did not make Tuesday night's lineup against Felix Hernandez. Gary Matthews Jr., with a history of putting a hurt on King Felix, started in left. ... Homeboy: Jeff Mathis is hitting .255 at Angel Stadium compared to .162 on the road.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-W

On radio
• KLAA 830, KFWB, KWKW 1330 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Angels (John Lackey, 9-7, 3.74) vs. Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith, 3-2, 3.88), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Angels (Joe Saunders, 12-7, 4.97) vs. White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 11-9, 3.84), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Angels (Ervin Santana, 7-8, 5.71) vs. White Sox (John Danks, 12-9, 3.84), 1:10 p.m. PT

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.