PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners' new No. 3 hitter, doing his famous stretching exercises behind him on the clubhouse floor on Saturday, Chone Figgins was talking about a return "home" to the leadoff role he filled so capably with the Angels before moving north, with disappointing results, following the 2009 season.
"Tough act to follow, right?" a grinning Figgins said, referring to assuming Ichiro's spot atop the lineup. "I feel good leading off, because it's what I've always done. But more important is the fact that I'm healthy. The last 10 games, I've been feeling much better.
"I missed most of last season, and when I was out there, I was trying to play through a labrum [strain] in my right hip. I was trying to plant [in the batter's box], be aggressive like I've always been, but it just wasn't there."
Figgins played third base on Opening Day in Japan against the Athletics, moving to left field in the second game after Mike Carp injured his shoulder diving for a ball.
Blessed with a powerful arm for a man his size, Figgins always has enjoyed the outfield and will be content to go back to his early role with the Angels as an all-purpose guy. "Third, short, second, outfield ... whatever they need," he said.
Figgins has not been himself in Seattle, but he's determined to show critics he still has all the skills that made him one of the American League's most versatile and explosive players for six years.
"I'm really looking forward to this season, now that I'm feeling good again," he said. "It'll be fun to see what we can do with [Dustin] Ackley and Ichiro hitting second and third. Both those guys can drive the ball. We should give the young guys in the middle third a lot of RBI opportunities."
Wedge praises team's resilience
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Back home after a memorable yet draining journey to Japan to open the regular season against the Athletics, the Mariners were getting their bearings back on American soil on Saturday.
Manager Eric Wedge liked what he saw as the regulars hit and ran through drills before Seattle unveiled a Minor League lineup behind Kevin Millwood in the Cactus League game against the Padres' varsity, albeit a split squad, at Peoria Stadium.
"We'll get them back in there [Sunday], for the most part," Wedge said of his regulars. "We have four days of games after tonight. Obviously, we've got Minor League guys in there [Saturday night]. With the next four games, we'll give them regular work. We haven't finalized exactly what we're going to do, but we'll get them back in there.
"It's different. We brought them back over here [Friday] at 3 just to keep them up. It wasn't a workout, but if they wanted to work out, that was fine. And if they just wanted to hang out, that was fine, too. Just to keep them going. I think they did a good job, but obviously you're still feeling it quite a bit today. Hopefully we'll even be a little better with it [Sunday]."
Wedge doesn't anticipate any residual issues from the two-game trip once the Mariners re-launch the season in Oakland on Friday.
"I think we'll have enough time here where we'll be on track," he said. "We have a lot of young kids who are pretty resilient. I was really proud how they handled themselves over in Japan with everything going on both on and off the field. I felt they represented themselves well. Now it's just to get them back on track with their sleeping patterns and with their [routine] as quickly as we can.
"We still have four full days and a workout day in Oakland before we play. We have time."
Carp shoulder injury 'nothing major'
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The early report on Mike Carp, who injured his right shoulder in the season opener against the Athletics in Japan, is optimistic. Carp was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, with Carlos Peguero recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
"We'll take it day to day," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said on Saturday. "He jammed his shoulder pretty good. It could have been worse than what it was. What we have to do now is see how he responds day to day to the treatment and take it from there."
An MRI, taken after Carp sprained the shoulder diving for Kurt Suzuki's double in the fourth inning in the Tokyo Dome, informed the Mariners "it's nothing major," according to Wedge. Carp remained in the 11-inning game, going hitless in four at-bats while making several running catches in left.
"It's not necessarily a matter of what it showed," Wedge said when asked about the MRI. "It was what it didn't show. That was the most important thing from our standpoint. We're going to work off him and see how he feels.
"The optimism comes from the fact he was able to stay in the game and make a couple of throws, which is always a good sign. But it stiffened up on him late and didn't want to take any chances. The most important thing is it's nothing major."
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, on the 15-day disabled list with a partially torn right pectoral muscle, was in uniform on Saturday, cleared to resume baseball activities. Wedge said he's "doing fine." Catcher Adam Moore, also on the DL with broken bone in his wrist, is making good progress in his recovery, Wedge said. Ackley showed up feeling ill and was excused from Saturday's workout.
Wedge's overall summary of the Japan trip: "I was proud to be over there -- proud to be over there with MLB, with the Seattle Mariners and our players, coaches and staff."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.