Anthony Vasquez had no regrets as the Mariners kicked off another Cactus League season without him.

The left-handed starter, who got a brief, harsh lesson about life in the majors when he debuted with Seattle late in 2011, has since learned what real problems are all about. Vasquez, 26, nearly died here last November while training at the Mariners' facility when some headaches and vision problems turned out to be from a ruptured blood vessel in his brain.

He underwent a lifesaving, 5 1/2 hours of surgery and spent the rest of the winter recovering at his home in San Antonio, Texas. And on Friday, having returned here to where everything in his life went sideways just three months ago, Vasquez said he's grateful to be alive and for the chance to resume a baseball career in which he has fought for each morsel earned.

"Trials are good, they help you," Vasquez said. "I really look at it that way."

Vasquez, dressed in street clothes, looked off toward a distant field where the Mariners were warming up in preparation for their Cactus League opener against the San Diego Padres. He didn't play for Seattle at all in 2012, when poor Class AAA numbers and a shoulder injury — which he was rehabilitating when the blood vessel ruptured — seemed just a tough carry-over from his dismal debut with the Mariners the prior year.