Guillen 'happy to be back' with Mariners

Guillen 'happy to be back' with Mariners

Guillen 'happy to be back' with Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The last time Carlos Guillen was in the Mariners clubhouse at the Peoria Sports Complex, he was 27 years old and Felix Hernandez was still in the Minor Leagues.

So, yeah, things have changed a bit now with Guillen returning to the Mariners on a Minor League contract with a shot at helping the club as a third-base or designated-hitter candidate.

Guillen, 36, exchanged hugs before Saturday's first full-team workout with Ichiro Suzuki, the only player still on the team from his time in Seattle from 1998-2003. Guillen said it's fun coming back to the place where he started his Major League career before getting traded to the Tigers and earning three American League All-Star berths between 2004-11.

"It's exciting, and I'm very happy," Guillen said. "This is my first team in the big leagues, and I'm really happy because it was great times, a great organization and I have a lot of good memories from the past. I'll just try to do my best.

"There are a lot of different faces, a lot of young guys with good talent. Last year, they were playing pretty good in the first half. That says something, because [for] young guys without experience, that's pretty good."

Guillen played just 28 games last year after the start of his season was delayed by recovery from microfracture knee surgery, and then he went back on the disabled list on Aug. 13 with a wrist injury. He said he's healthy now, even if the left knee is going to require extra rehab.

Guillen said there were other opportunities after he was released by the Tigers, but Seattle made the most sense.

"I decided to come here because this is my first house," said the native of Venezuela. "I know the city, and I'm happy to be back."