SEATTLE -- Mike Carp took some swings in the batting cage on Tuesday for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list two weeks ago and the Mariners left fielder was feeling much better afterward.
"It was definitely good for the psyche," said Carp, who is recovering from right shoulder problems that have lingered since hurting himself on Opening Night. "I'm all smiles today. I took 25 hacks and felt great."
Carp has been frustrated since spraining his shoulder diving for a ball on the Tokyo Dome turf. He spent a month on the DL with that injury, then hit just .157 in 32 games before acknowledging the shoulder was still an issue both hitting and throwing.
He said trainers have discovered the muscles behind his shoulder had been overcompensating as they tried to protect his injury and began causing other problems. He's spent the past two weeks resting the shoulder, then beginning rehab work to get those muscles firing correctly again.
"It felt normal to swing, finally," Carp said. "I noticed even when I was warming up, it felt the way it's supposed to again. Before I was tucking my shoulder and doing some things that were bad habits, basically. It's more natural this time."
Carp will take 45 swings in the cage on Wednesday and continue building up there, but he doesn't know how soon he'll begin throwing.
"We want to get the hitting going first," he said. "I want to throw now or at least play catch, but we're going to take our time with it and not rush things like last time. That was more me, saying, 'Hey, I'm ready to go,' so I'm going to stick to the program this time.
"We're going to get the hitting going and fix all that first because obviously that's my bread and butter. Get that going, then introduce the throwing, go out on a rehab assignment and get back to playing, hopefully pretty quick."
Reliever Stephen Pryor, the other Mariner on the 15-day disabled list, played long toss on Tuesday, throwing up to 110 feet, as he works back from a strained left groin muscle.
Ichiro used at DH for first time this season
SEATTLE -- Manager Eric Wedge continued looking for ways to reduce the workload on Ichiro Suzuki by putting him at designated hitter on Tuesday for the first time this season.
Ichiro, 38, had a six-game hitting streak going into Tuesday's game against the A's and was 12-for-26 (.461) since getting a full day off on June 18 in Arizona.
Wedge continues to say that increased rest could help the veteran right fielder, who has raised his average 18 points to .273 in that span.
Casper Wells got the start in right field Tuesday. Wells has hit .407 (11-for-27) with six RBIs in nine games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
"We're trying to get Casper in there a little more, especially against left-handers," Wedge said. "So it's a chance to get Ichi off his feet and let him still swing the bat.
"It helps a little bit," Wedge said. "It's not the same as an off-day, but it does help him physically a little bit. A true off-day is more about the mental side than anything, but this does help him physically."
Wells has a strong throwing arm and is an excellent defensive outfielder, with some projecting right field as his best position. But Wedge said it's not critical to see him in that spot.
"I think he's going to be a good outfielder wherever he is," Wedge said. "I don't think it's important for him to necessarily play right field, but it's important to get a look at him and see him play a little more. It doesn't really matter to me where it is."
With Michael Saunders playing well and Franklin Gutierrez getting healthy, Wedge suddenly is seeking ways to get four outfielders playing time. Putting Ichiro at DH is one way to keep Wells in the lineup. It will be the 38th game at designated hitter in Ichiro's 12-year career, while the rest of his 1,822 games have all come in right or center field.
Erasmo in good company after 10-K game
SEATTLE -- Erasmo Ramirez became the eighth Mariners pitcher to record 10 strikeouts in a game as a rookie in Monday's 1-0 loss to the A's, joining a pretty good group in the process.
The previous Mariners pitchers in the 10-K club as a rookie were Freddy Garcia, Mark Langston, Randy Johnson, Byron McLaughlin, Erik Hanson, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda.
Those seven pitchers have a combined 77 Major League years of experience between them with 20 All-Star berths, six Cy Young Awards and a combined 832-612 win-loss record. McLaughlin, who pitched for Seattle from 1977-80, is the only one who didn't make an All-Star Game in his career.
Ramirez was making just his third Major League start and had struggled in his first two outings.
"I thought his focus was better," manager Eric Wedge said Tuesday. "He was down on the plate better and more aggressive and pitching more to contact. And ironically enough he ends up striking out 10 because he gets ahead and stays ahead.
"He just needs to be very aware of what he was doing last night because today it starts all over. Now we need to go out and repeat it. That's what it's all about up here."
Yu Darvish, Christian Friedrich and Matt Moore are the only other rookies in the Majors to strike out 10 this season.
Going into Tuesday's game, Charlie Furbush had the fifth-longest scoreless-inning streak ever by a Mariners reliever at 19 1/3 innings. Ahead on the list are Roy Thomas (19 2/3 in 1983), J.J. Putz (22 in 2007), Edwin Nunez (24 in 1985) and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (28 2/3 in 2003).
Furbush also has the seventh-longest streak of relief appearances with a strikeout at 16 straight games and he's put up a 0.44 ERA in that span.
Ichiro Suzuki has 99 career home runs, one shy of becoming the 12th Mariners player to hit 100.
Jesus Montero was hitting .375 (23-for-72) against left-handed pitchers going into Tuesday's game, the fifth-best average in the AL against lefties and seventh in the Majors.