02/19/12 6:14 PM EST
Figgins getting his shot at regular playing time
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Wedge seems to be leaning toward giving Figgins a legitimate shot to resurrect his career in the leadoff role, where he excelled while with the Angels.
"I think it's important," Wedge said of giving Figgins an early indication of his expected role. "This will all play out here in the next couple days. I'm going to talk to a few of the guys. And as soon as I do, I'll talk to you guys."
Figgins was a 2009 American League All-Star, when he hit .298 with an excellent .395 on-base percentage and league-leading 101 walks, with 42 stolen bases to boot, but has struggled in the two seasons since after signing as a free-agent with the Mariners. With Seattle, he's hit second behind Ichiro Suzuki, who may be dropped to the second or third spot this season.
Figgins has worked with Kyle Seager at third base in the first two days of full camp, and will "get the bulk of his time" there, but will also see some action at second base, shortstop and in the outfield this spring, according to Wedge.
The manager said he sees a renewed spark from the 34-year-old Figgins, who hit just .188 in 81 games last season, and spent the final few months on the disabled list with a hip injury.
"He's got that glimmer in his eye, and a little hop in his step," Wedge said. "He's a real good person, he's a good baseball player. He's had a tough go of it for a couple years here and it's been hard on him, but the best thing he can do is just put that behind and learn from it. Take whatever he can from it and then come out and play ball.
"He's going to get an opportunity here," said Wedge. "He's only a couple years removed from being one of the more pesky hitters in the game. He's just tough. So it's nice to see him looking the way he's looking right now."
Ryan taking things slow at start of camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- While the rest of his teammates warmed up their throwing arms prior to Sunday's Mariners workout, shortstop Brendan Ryan stood in the infield kicking dirt. The energetic shortstop doesn't like standing still, but he's taking things slowly this spring while working his arm back into shape from a shoulder injury at the end of last season.
Ryan, 29, has taken batting practice and gone through fielding drills for the first two days of the team's full-squad sessions, but isn't making throws across the infield yet.
"It's not that bad," Ryan said. "We're just doing stuff to make sure, like going on a pitcher's plan, to make sure there are no setbacks or anything like that.
"Part of it is we have so much time that there's no hurry at all," he said. "We're just going to kind of baby-step it along. I'll throw from however many feet, and see how that feels, and then kick it up the next day."
Whether Ryan will be ready to play when the team begins intrasquad games on Feb. 24 or Cactus League action on March 2 remains to be seen, but the ultimate goal is to be 100 percent when the season starts March 28 in Tokyo against the A's.
Ryan declined to put any timetable on his full return, but said he's "not really worried about it."
The shoulder began giving him problems late last season, and he wound up not playing in the final 11 games. He changed his weight-lifting program over the offseason to build up the muscles around the injury, and has been receiving daily treatment since arriving in Peoria.
Ryan and Japanese free agent Munenori Kawasaki have been taking reps with the top group at shortstop during infield drills the first two days of full-squad work. Other shortstops in camp are veteran Luis Rodriguez, and Minor Leaguers Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin. Kyle Seager played a few games there last season, but he's currently working in the top group at third base along with Chone Figgins.
Felix kicks things off in first live BP session
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's already a given that Felix Hernandez will be the Opening Day pitcher for the Mariners on March 28 in Tokyo against the A's if all goes according to plan, so naturally "The King" was first up on the hill Sunday, as the team took its first live batting practice of camp.
Traditionally batters often just track the ball and don't swing much on the first day of live BP in order to work on their timing, but in this case, not one of the four veterans in the first group -- Ichiro Suzuki, Justin Smoak, Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez -- even took a single hack.
"They're supposed to swing," Hernandez said in mock disgust afterward.
With pitchers having been throwing for a full week now, however, the first day is something of a mismatch in the best of circumstances. And facing Felix definitely isn't the best circumstance.
"First day of live BP, he's probably one of the last guys you want to face," manager Eric Wedge acknowledged. "His ball is jumping all over the place. But it's good for guys to see pitches and watch the baseball."
Smoak just shook his head when asked about seeing Hernandez right out of the chute.
"I didn't choose that," he said with a chuckle. "First time out, you just track pitches and make sure you're ready to hit. He actually wanted us to swing. He kept telling us to swing. Of course, the first four pitches he throws me are changeups and that's one of the best pitches he's got. But it was good. It's good to see him. He's always sharp, so it was good."
Half the Mariners pitchers threw on Sunday, with the other half set to throw on Monday.
"Felix got us started off, and he's a special guy and a special pitcher. He looked very good," Wedge said. "Having said that, everybody did. To a man, I was very impressed with this group of pitchers, and we'll see the next group tomorrow. But just hopping around a little bit, trying to see all these guys, I was very impressed with what I saw."