PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chone Figgins went 2-for-3 with a bunt single and a sharp base hit during the Mariners' third intrasquad game of the spring on Tuesday, showing again exactly what manager Eric Wedge is looking for from the leadoff position.
Figgins is now 3-for-5 with three walks and three runs scored in playing a little over half of the three contests since Wedge announced he'd get the first shot at filling the leadoff role formerly held by Ichiro Suzuki.
"Just getting back to playing my game is huge," said Figgins, who started off Tuesday's game with the bunt and advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Jason Vargas. "Most importantly, I feel good and healthy."
Wedge is encouraged by what he's seen from the 34-year-old, who hit just .188 last season in 81 games and finished the year on the disabled list with a hip injury.
"That is what we're hoping to see," Wedge said. "A base knock today, a bunt for a hit. He's seeing a lot of pitches. He's doing right now what we need him to do. That's what we want him to do. Get on base and score runs and get things started for us."
Figgins' team wound up winning the game, 6-3, thanks in part to a three-run home run by Michael Saunders off Shawn Kelley and a solo shot by third baseman Vinnie Catricala off Scott Patterson. It was Catricala's second long ball off Patterson in the three practice games.
The Mariners play their fourth and final intrasquad affair on Wednesday before beginning Cactus League play Friday against the A's in Phoenix.
Iwakuma struggles in intrasquad action
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma gave up three hits and three runs along with two walks in a rough second inning of his Mariners debut Tuesday in an intrasquad game at the Peoria Sports Complex, with his work halted with the bases loaded and no outs after he reached his pitch limit.
Iwakuma got through a 1-2-3 first inning, but then struggled with his command and gave up doubles to Jesus Montero and Mike Wilson as well as an RBI single to Munenori Kawasaki and walks to Casper Wells and Nick Franklin.
Alex Liddi also reached base on an error by third baseman Vinnie Catricala, which led to one of the runs being unearned. But things clearly weren't going well for the 30-year-old when the inning was stopped after he'd thrown his 38th pitch, including 19 strikes.
Speaking through a translator, Iwakuma said he struggled with his location in the second inning after falling behind in too many counts.
"I felt like he was real aggressive the first inning and that's really been his MO," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's one of the things we liked about him. Then he got away from that a little in the second inning. But it's his first time out there.
"We saw him good in the first inning, then he started picking a little in the second and that's when you work behind and he got in a little trouble there. But he's got that first one out of the way and that's the best part of it."
• Left-hander Jason Vargas made his second intrasquad start and gave up four hits and one run in three innings after working 2 1/3 hitless frames in his debut last Friday. Vargas is being targeted to start the Mariners' second regular-season game on March 29 in Tokyo.
• Tuesday's hitting star was center fielder Michael Saunders, who went 2-for-4 with a triple off Steve Delabar and home run off Shawn Kelley. "It's not just today, he's been swinging it all camp," said manager Eric Wedge.
• Young third baseman Kyle Seager played a few innings at first base during the intrasquad game as the Mariners look to increase his versatility for a potential utility infield role.
• Catcher Miguel Olivo took a Kelley fastball off his right forearm in the fourth inning, but shook it off and stayed in the game. "I broke the ball," Olivo said later, flexing the muscle in his arm.
• Ken Griffey Jr. arrived in camp and will spend some time this week talking baseball with the young Mariners players as part of his role as a special consultant.
"He gives you a different perspective," Wedge said. "It's a very interesting perspective. Obviously he was a great player and grew up in the game. I've had a lot of those, and it's a whole different vantage point. That's the perspective we can gain from him."
Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson are expected to be in camp in the coming weeks to work with players as well.
• Rookies James Paxton and Taijuan Walker will get the start in Wednesday's final intrasquad game, scheduled for 12:45 p.m. MT on the Mariners' main practice field. Both are scheduled to pitch one inning, with fellow prospect Danny Hultzen to follow Paxton in the second for Team 1.