PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran infielder Chone Figgins has spent nearly all his time at third base in the first week of Mariners full-squad workouts, but manager Eric Wedge and infield coach Robby Thompson took him and newcomer Munenori Kawasaki to a back field after Thursday's practice to work on ground balls at shortstop.
With starter Brendan Ryan just beginning to throw as he returns from a shoulder issue suffered at the end of last season, the Mariners need to figure out all their options heading into four intrasquad games in the next six days before Cactus League action opens March 2.
"We're working Figgy at short," Wedge said. "He'll be working all over the place, but he looked good. He looked comfortable out there. He's played quite a few games at shortstop in his career in the big leagues, so I just want to get him back out there and get him some work.
"I definitely plan on playing him at shortstop some this spring. And we'll bounce Kawasaki around the infield. He's been working at second, short and third."
Figgins played 27 games at shortstop during his eight years with the Angels, the last coming in 2006.
Top pitching prospects ready for first action
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It'll only be an intrasquad game on a practice field with little fanfare -- or even fans, for that matter. But top Mariners pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker will take their first step into the Major League world on Friday when the team holds its first live action of the spring at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Hultzen, the No. 2 overall Draft pick last June, will be the first man on the mound for Team 2 in the nine-inning contest. And, yeah, he's eager to get things rolling.
"Absolutely," the 23-year-old said Thursday. "I haven't actually played in a real game in a while, so it'll be great to get out there again."
Who exactly will he be facing in the first inning?
"I have no idea," Hultzen said with a grin, "but I know they'll be good."
Hultzen will throw one inning, followed immediately by Walker and Paxton on Team 2. Those three rookies are all ranked among the Top 100 prospects in baseball this year by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
Walker, 19, has opened eyes with his electric stuff early in camp. He's likely to start the year in Double-A ball, given his age, but this spring is his time to leave an initial impression on the big boys.
"They'll be evaluating us, and I've got to go out there and compete and just do the best I can," said the youngster from Yucaipa, Calif. "I'm looking forward to it."
Paxton, 23, will be third up in the rotation of rookies. He hasn't pitched in a game situation since last August, and says the juices are starting to flow.
"It definitely is a process," he said of the first two weeks of camp. "You've got bullpens, shaking the rust off and getting the arm loose again and trying to hit spots. Then it's live BP and guys are swinging a little bit and you fine-tune a little. Then the games come and it's go time. It's time to refine your stuff and get ready for the season."
Jason Vargas will start for the opposing squad Friday, and is the only pitcher slated for two innings. He'll be followed by Shawn Camp, Oliver Perez, Aaron Heilman, Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin.
Hultzen, Walker and Paxton will be followed by Shawn Kelley, Hong-Chih Kuo, Cesar Jimenez, Erasmo Ramirez and Lucas Luetge on the other squad.
Manager Eric Wedge announced the full lineups on Thursday, though he didn't indicate which batting order would face which group of pitchers.
Team 1: Chone Figgins 3B, Dustin Ackley 2B, Casper Wells LF, Justin Smoak 1B, Miguel Olivo C, Munenori Kawasaki SS, Carlos Peguero RF, Guillermo Quiroz DH, Michael Saunders CF.
Team 2: Darren Ford CF, Brendan Ryan DH, Ichiro Suzuki RF, Mike Carp LF, Jesus Montero C, Kyle Seager 3B, Alex Liddi 1B, Luis Rodriguez 2B, Carlos Triunfel SS.
Rehabbing Ryan ramps up throwing
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brendan Ryan has had to avoid all throwing in the first week of full-squad workouts due to a shoulder issue, but the Mariners shortstop was tossing at near full speed Thursday as he played catch with assistant trainer Rob Nodine prior to practice.
Ryan, 29, played easy catch on Wednesday, but was far more active on Thursday as he builds up strength following a herniated disc that sidelined him at the end of last season.
"I ramped it up more than I thought I was going to," Ryan said. "It's not where it needs to be yet, but it was only Day 2. I was throwing fairly hard, so it was a good day. I'll probably have more feedback on how I feel tomorrow. That will tell me more where I'm at."
Ryan will be used at designated hitter in Friday's first intrasquad game, and it's not certain when he'll be able to play in the field.
In other health news, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and third baseman Carlos Guillen were held out of running and fielding drills to rest sore legs Thursday, and neither will play in Friday's intrasquad game, though both should be ready to go for Sunday's intrasquad contest, manager Eric Wedge said.
Outfielder Trayvon Robinson also continues to be slowed by some hamstring tightness, while designated hitter Luis Jimenez was given Thursday off to rest a sore elbow.
Left-handed reliever George Sherrill, who was held out of the first week of pitching, threw his second bullpen session and extended to about 7-8 minutes.