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Ryan, Ackley see results in returns from injury


PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brendan Ryan is known more for his glove, but the Mariners shortstop ripped a home run in his first at-bat this spring in Monday's 9-8 victory against the Angels. Ryan was joined by second baseman Dustin Ackley, who tripled in the fifth inning in his first Cactus League game, as both players returned from offseason surgeries.

Ryan hit into a double play on a checked-swing comebacker to the mound in his second at-bat before being replaced in the sixth inning.

"I saw both sides of the spectrum. About as good as it gets to as bad as it gets. Right back to Earth," Ryan said with a smile.

But the veteran shortstop has been pleased with his plate approach early this spring as he's working to simplify his swing and get back to being a better contact hitter after posting a .194 average last year.

"I'm just trying to get back to that gritty, stick-your-nose in there and grind out every at-bat, the [David] Eckstein-type approach," he said.

That would be fine with manager Eric Wedge, who isn't looking for home runs from his shortstop.

"I'd be happy with hard contact on a consistent basis from Brendan," Wedge said. "But it's good to see him get off to a good start. You just have to make sure he continues to work and understand what he needs to do to give himself the best chance up there over a period of time. His [batting practice] has been better, and it's nice to see him get some results here early."

It's the same story for Ackley, who is looking to bounce back from a .226 average last season at second base. Though his ankle is still a little tender as he returns from surgery to remove bone spurs, he drove a ball deep to the opposite field for his triple.

"That's Arizona," Ackley said after his deep drive carried farther than expected. "But it's nice to see the ball travel like that. I'll take it as a positive on Day 1. I squared it up pretty good. It was 3-1, and I was looking fastball and got one and put the barrel on it and good things happened."

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