Weeks returns from hamstring injury with two doubles

Weeks returns from hamstring injury with two doubles

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Rickie Weeks doubled twice on Saturday in his first Cactus League action since feeling his right hamstring tighten up three days earlier as the veteran utility man continued warming up for his first season with Seattle.

Weeks felt his leg tighten up while running out a ground ball on Wednesday and sat out the next two games. But manager Lloyd McClendon put him at designated hitter in Saturday's 11-4 victory over the D-backs at Salt River Fields and he responded with doubles in the third and fifth innings in a 2-for-3 day.

"He's still running a little bit carefully, but he swung the bat great," said McClendon. "He's OK."

Weeks, who played exclusively second base in his 11 seasons with Milwaukee, figures as a right-handed hitting option to Dustin Ackley in left field or as a backup infielder or DH. He's hit .333 (4-for-12) with two doubles and a home run in five games this spring.

In other news Saturday:

Felix Hernandez will throw three or four innings in a simulated game situation on Sunday morning at the Mariners' Peoria complex against Minor League hitters, then is scheduled for his next Cactus League start on Saturday, March 21, against the Cubs in Mesa.

• Seattle's upcoming probable pitchers: Roenis Elias on Sunday vs. the Dodgers, Hisashi Iwakuma Tuesday at the White Sox, Erasmo Ramirez on Wednesday vs. the A's, Taijuan Walker Thursday night vs. the Indians, Elias on Friday at the Rangers and Hernandez on Saturday at the Cubs.

• Recently signed veteran Kevin Correia is slated to throw an inning or two in relief of Iwakuma on Tuesday in his first game action since agreeing to a Minor League deal.

James Paxton will make his first appearance of the spring in a simulated game on Tuesday morning, pitching about three innings or 45 pitches against Minor League hitters as he returns from a bruised forearm. J.A. Happ will throw a similar simulated game on Wednesday rather than facing the AL West rival A's.

• Left-hander Edgar Olmos is still 2-3 weeks from being able to throw after being returned from the Rangers on a waiver claim due to a shoulder issue.

• Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez won't play for a few more days as he continues working back from a sore groin muscle that cropped up as he attempts to return from a year's absence from baseball.

• McClendon said as things stand, he's seen enough from his left-handed relief competitors to believe the club can go with a second southpaw in the bullpen behind veteran Charlie Furbush. McClendon didn't name names, but both Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins and Tyler Olson have yet to allow a run in Cactus League play and are pushing for a spot despite never pitching above Double-A ball.

"Having said that, we still have a long way to go," McClendon said. "But I like what I've seen to this point. I like the chances of being balanced. Now a week from now, it might be different."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.