Salt Lake fan favorite Chone Figgins wasn't disappointed to be back in town on Monday.
It meant he's closer to returning to Anaheim full-time.
Figgins, a regular in the Salt Lake lineup in 2002 and 2003, began what will likely be a three-game rehab assignment with the Bees in their 8-7 win over Tacoma. It was just the second game Figgins has played in since he injured his right hamstring on May 3.
"It's a good thing to come back (to Salt Lake)," Figgins said following batting practice on Monday. "That means I'm getting back healthy."
Rehab has been a slow process for Figgins. He injured his hamstring when he slid awkwardly into home plate, as his right foot clipped the left foot of the home-plate umpire in a game against the Orioles early last month. Figgins played against Toronto on May 21, but aggravated his hamstring injury and was out of action until Monday.
Figgins played five innings at third base for the Bees and went 1-for-3 at the plate. He singled to right field in the third inning, then scored from first on a triple by Chris Walker. Figgins showed no signs of being injured as he and the speedy Walker each made it to their respective destinations standing up.
"Figgins looked great," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell. "Scoring from first on that ball was a huge sign that he's really close to going back to the big leagues and playing. He was running fine, and he made it easy. He's got to get his stamina up. When he scored from first he was out of gas. He hasn't run that far in a while."
Figgins could have completed his rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, but he instead chose to fly to Salt Lake to play with the Bees. Rancho Cucamonga is on a road trip, and Figgins said he'd rather fly in a plane for an hour to Salt Lake than take a long bus ride with the Angels' Class A affiliate.
Plus, he knows the Salt Lake area well, as he had plenty of good times here as a member of the then-Stingers in 2002 and 2003. He also had a four-game rehab stint here last season.
"It's a quiet city and I'm a pretty quiet guy," Figgins said. "There's places to go eat, and you've got a nice view of the mountains."
Figgins was having another solid season for the Angels before he suffered his hamstring injury. He appeared in 33 games, hitting .306 with six doubles, seven RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Last season, he hit .330 and stole 41 bases. Nothing against being in Salt Lake, but he'd like to try and start matching last season's production in Anaheim as soon as possible.
"If it wasn't for here, I wouldn't be in the big leagues," Figgins said. "I love the fans here, but I like it better up there playing."
With Figgins in the dugout, Adam Pavkovich and Adam Morrissey provided big-league caliber hits in Salt Lake's victory over Tacoma. Pavkovich hit a lead-off home run over the left-field wall in the eighth inning to tie the game at 7-7. With two outs in the eighth, Morrissey blasted a solo shot over the left-field wall to give the Bees their second consecutive victory.
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