Ryan returns to short, shoulder gets 'good test'

Ryan returns to short, shoulder gets 'good test'

Ryan returns to short, shoulder gets 'good test'
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brendan Ryan made his first appearance at shortstop this spring during Wednesday's fourth and final Mariners intrasquad game as he's returning slowly from a shoulder issue sustained at the end of last season.

And wouldn't you know it: The first play he had to make was a spectacular backhand deep in the hole on a ball that deflected off the glove of third baseman Francisco Martinez, requiring Ryan to make a long throw to get catcher Jesus Montero by a step at first.

The play drew "ooohs" from his teammates and quickly answered any question of his readiness.

"Those things are sometimes an afterthought. They just kind of happen," Ryan said. "But yeah, first test I guess. Long throw, it felt good. I didn't think I was going to make it there, but that Arizona air ... it worked out."

The Mariners have a day off on Thursday and then open Cactus League play Friday, and Ryan feels he's ready to go at shortstop.

"I still think I can get into better shape because it feels good, it just kind of gets tired," he said of his arm. "But today was a good test. We're going in the right direction."

Manager Eric Wedge said the team will continue being careful with Ryan, but he was encouraged by Wednesday's effort.

"It was nice to see him out there," Wedge said. "That's a tough play on that ball in the hole and he's been swinging the bat well. He's very much ahead of where he was offensively last year and obviously it's a given with regard to what he can do defensively."