Well-traveled Mariners glad to be home

Well-traveled Mariners glad to be home

SEATTLE -- The Mariners finally got to Safeco Field on Friday, 63 days after they reported to Spring Training in Arizona. With a season that opened in Tokyo before a return to Arizona and an opening road trip to Oakland and Texas, the club has already traveled more than 15,000 miles for its first eight regular-season games.

"It's good to be home," manager Eric Wedge said. "We've been gone for 2 1/2 months. That's a longer stretch than any of us have ever had, and we've done quite a bit in that time frame. But the guys handled it really well."

Wedge said the road has helped steel his young team for what is to come in the long 162-game haul.

"You're looking at a much more mature group. They're tougher, a little wiser for the wear," he said. "They're turning into a good baseball team right in front of your eyes and it's good to see. It's early, but it should be a lot of fun watching them play and progress and continue to improve this year."

Some of the new players are moving to Seattle for the first time. Others have established residences already, but haven't been there for months.

"It's still going to feel like we're on the road for a little bit," said second-year shortstop Brendan Ryan. "But it'll be nice to unpack and hopefully get started off on the right foot."

And for the pitchers? It's always good to come home to Safeco Field, especially after four games in hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"It seems like we've been on the road for the last two months," said Jason Vargas. "It'll be nice to settle into Seattle and get back to the cold. I'm looking forward to that."