03/18/12 7:45 PM ET
Figgins heats up at plate, in field
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Figgins got off to a slow start at the plate, but is now batting .250. He said he's getting his timing back, after missing the last couple of months of the 2011 season.
"The last 4-5 games, even the 'B' game, I've been swinging the bat well," said the 34-year-old. "It's starting to come around. For me, it's more of a timing thing. I didn't play much last year, so obviously it was going to be a little slow getting back into it. But my eye is still there. My plate discipline is good. I'm starting to put some good swings on it."
Manager Eric Wedge has committed to batting Figgins in the leadoff spot to start the season, but is still working on where he'll fit defensively. Kyle Seager continues having a nice spring at third base, hitting his third home run of Cactus League play on Sunday. But Figgins can play there, as well as shortstop, second or in the outfield.
Figgins played his third game at short on Sunday, and his backhanded stop of a hard shot by Colorado's Chris Nelson in the fourth inning was a good sign.
"He's done a nice job everywhere he's been," Wedge said. "And he's putting up nice at-bats. He's had a lot of hard outs this spring. He did a good job with two strikes today, dumping that ball into left field for an RBI.
"He enjoys playing. I don't think he's too concerned with where he's playing, he just enjoys playing and it really helps us out, the fact he is that versatile. With [Franklin Gutierrez] and his injury and Brendan Ryan banged up, we've played him all over the place and will continue to do so."
Figgins said shortstop is the toughest position for him to play, but he welcomes every opportunity. He filled a similar utility role with the Angels when he was starting out in the Majors.
"[Wedge] said I'm going to play wherever," Figgins said. "That's what got me to the big leagues and I did well with it, so I'm all for it."
Ryan hopes to return on Monday
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was sidelined for a fourth straight day on Sunday, as the club continued being cautious with a tender quadriceps muscle in his right leg.
"Knowing my personality, they kind of put the shackles on me, which is probably a smart play," said the ultra-hyper Ryan. "We're doing stuff in the pool and I'm getting a lot out of it. I haven't felt any [soreness] in a couple days."
Ryan said he could have played on Sunday, but the cold, wet weather made it an easy decision for trainers to keep him sidelined another day. Manager Eric Wedge indicated the 29-year-old should be back in the lineup on Monday when the Mariners host the Cubs.
Ryan was taken out of Wednesday's game against the Royals, when he came up gimpy after trying to run back to first after getting caught running on a one-out line drive to the outfield and getting doubled off. He said the muscle had already been bothering him, but tightened further when he tried turning on the gas to get out of his baserunning mistake.
"Mental airball," Ryan said. "I'd hit a ground ball and thought, 'Oh, double play.' Then I was safe at first, and I never acclimated to what actually happened. I can't remember the last time that happened."
Ryan said he'd just been sounding off in the dugout about players getting doubled off on a line drive.
"And as soon as I opened my mouth, not 10 minutes later, I went out and did that," Ryan said. "That won't happen again."
Wedge happy with Noesi's outing
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners only got four innings of work from Hector Noesi before rain and hail halted Sunday's Cactus League game with the Rockies, but manager Eric Wedge continued to see what he wants to from the young right-hander.
Noesi, 25, appears to be locking up a rotation berth with his strong spring. He gave up two runs on four hits to the Rockies, including two singles with no out in the fifth before the game was halted. He now owns a 3.00 ERA in three Cactus League starts.
"He's really pitched well," manager Eric Wedge said. "I think today was not under everyday circumstances, and he handled that well, too. He's done a nice job for us."
Noesi expected to throw five innings and about 75-80 pitches, but was in the low 60s when the rains came. But Wedge said that was no problem in his situation, since he's not one of the two starters needed for the A's series in Tokyo on March 28-29.
"We've got time when we get back from Japan to set it up for us," Wedge said. "We'll pitch some of these guys over there, too, so we're setting that up with the exhibition games, as well."
Noesi is benefiting from the chance to pitch every fifth day, after working out of the bullpen for the Yankees last year.
"I think I'm doing good this spring," said the Dominican native. "It's different than every spring. I learn about something every time I go out there."
Jason Vargas makes his final Cactus League start on Monday against the Cubs. Kevin Millwood will start Tuesday's game against the Reds in Goodyear, Ariz., with Erasmo Ramirez scheduled to pitch in relief.
Felix Hernandez then makes his final spring outing on Wednesday in Peoria against the White Sox. Hisashi Iwakuma will throw on Wednesday, as well, though it's not certain whether that will be in the Cactus League game or not.
While Sunday's rain wiped out scheduled work for several Mariners relievers, Wedge said there would be no setbacks since all could be used either in Monday's game with the Cubs or in Minor League games, which are now under way.
Rookie catcher Jesus Montero was held out Sunday after feeling under the weather on Saturday, but will play at designated hitter on Monday, according to Wedge.
Going into Sunday's action, Dustin Ackley was tied for the Cactus League lead with six doubles and two triples. Hernandez was third in the Cactus League in ERA (1.38) and tied for first in strikeouts (13), while Blake Beavan topped the league in innings pitched (15 1/3).