tampabay.com

Wigginton expects quick adjustment

By MARC TOPKIN
Published April 26, 2007


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ty Wigginton likes to move around the field. So when Akinori Iwamura went on the disabled list, Wigginton calmly reached into his locker for another glove and made what he said is a simple shift from first base back to third.

"Is it any big deal? No, no," Wigginton said. "They hit it and I try to catch it."

Wigginton played mostly third base during his time with the Mets (including the entire 2003 season) and Pirates and 34 of his 122 games (with five of his eight errors) with the Rays last year.

Though he said he enjoys playing second the most, and would like to try shortstop and catcher, he is perfectly comfortable at third.

"The footwork is a little different. Obviously at first you're (playing) a little deeper, and you have to make sure you have the angle going right toward first once you catch the ball. It's just a matter of being over there, taking balls in BP. I don't see it as being a problem."

Neither does manager Joe Maddon, who said he'd be quite comfortable with Wigginton spending most of his time at the hot corner for the next four to six weeks as Iwamura recovers from an oblique strain.

"Wiggy, since we've had him, he's made very few errors and he's actually made some very good plays," Maddon said. "You look at him and he's not the most graceful ... but he gets the job done. He catches the ball, he throws accurately, he's fearless. He makes throws in crucial situations. I'm very comfortable with him playing anywhere on the field. I trust Wiggy totally."

FAMILIAR SCENE: Visiting Angel Stadium was a familiar feeling for RF Delmon Young, who played for -- and won -- the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship on the field in 2002. Young expected plenty of relatives (including his parents) and friends (including high school coach Scott Cline) from his hometown of Camarillo but lamented that the series was too short for him to make a trip home. "It's about 75 miles," he said, "but with the traffic it's like 2 1/2 hours."

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Young lost a double when MLB officials, at the request of the Indians, changed the scoring on a play in Saturday's game to an error on Cleveland 2B Josh Barfield. Why would the Indians care? The change takes two earned runs off RHP Paul Byrd's record, lowering his ERA from 4.50 to 3.00. It also lowered Young's batting average 12 points, though he went 3-for-4 Wednesday and raised it to .279.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said the two wins over the Yankees were significant in validating much of what he has been preaching: "You have to have these little victories in the grand scheme of things to indicate what we're doing is working." ... The rained-out April 4 game in New York will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader (1:05/7:05) July 21. ... B.J. Upton's 13-game hitting streak ended. ... The Rays have an AL-high 18 errors. ... Carl Crawford's Tuesday grand slam was only the second Yankees LHP Mike Myers allowed to a left-handed hitter, the first since Ray Lankford in July 1998, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Maddon, a longtime Angels coach, is 0-4 as a visiting manager in Anaheim.