Concern arises for bullpen as Mariners shut down Charlie Furbush for a few days
The Mariners’ plan to bring Charlie Furbush along slowly in camp coming off injury has come to a halt as Furbush has been shut down for a couple of days.
He last threw from a mound last Monday when he threw to hitters in a live BP session. The session looked good and Furbush was very happy with how he felt afterwards. In the days following, however, he did not recover quickly from throwing.
“Physically he is fine, he is just not bouncing back as quick,” manager Scott Servais said Saturday morning. “Maybe a little tight the day after he throws; he’s not jumping out playing catch right away. It’s just taking him a little bit longer to get ready to go.”
Later Saturday morning, Furbush played catch. That session did not go well.
“He threw yesterday, briefly,” Servais answered Sunday morning when asked when the last time Furbush played catch.
Was the session shut down?
“He threw briefly yesterday,” Servais repeated.
Not hard to read between the lines. While Servais said that the hope is Furbush will be able to play catch Tuesday, it appears that with 22 days to go that Furbush might not be ready by Opening Day.
“We’re getting closer,” said Servais. “You have got to get in games and get going. I’m not going to lie, there’s a little concern of where he’s at. Still have my fingers crossed that he is going to be okay for Opening Day.”
While the offense and starting pitching appear to be coming together nicely for the Mariners, behind the scenes team officials have been anxious to see how the bullpen shakes out. They know it is crucial to get, at the very least, a decent performance out of the group if they hope to have a successful season.
The bullpen is already looking a little thin with Furbush slowed and two right-handed candidates, Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook, out with lat injuries. There is another right-hander to keep an eye on as well – closer Steve Cishek hasn’t thrown in a game in a week.
Cishek’s schedule has been slowed after experiencing biceps soreness. The good news is that he is still throwing, throwing a bullpen under the watch of a trainer Saturday. The biceps soreness is being termed as normal spring training soreness, but this situation bears watching.
The Mariners have insurance at closer if needed in Joaquin Benoit, and an interesting option for a left-handed reliever is Mike Montgomery, who pitched well in his first spring start Saturday night.
“He’ll probably come in from the bullpen in future outings in spring training,” Servais said of Montgomery.
A move to the pen for Montgomery, who is out of minor league options and almost certainly would not clear waivers, has always bileen a possibity. A healthy Furbush and effective Vidal Nuno, however, would leave no room for him. Now it appears the door could be open for Montgomery, who the Rays had moved to the pen last spring before trading him to Seattle.
“Guys are smart, they see where the opportunities lie. I don’t think he will have a problem with it,” said Servais.
Coming into camp there appeared to be one, maybe two positions available in the bullpen. While Cishek most likely is just experiencing normal spring training soreness, Furbush is questionable at best for Opening Day. Two options are gone in Scribner and Cook, and nobody has really jumped out from the group of non-roster relievers brought in as a surprise candidate for a spot. General manager Jerry Dipoto no doubt is looking for help, or at the very least insurance for the pen right now.