Mariners notebook: Charlie Furbush won’t be ready by opening day
The day off did not seem to move Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush any closer to pitching off the mound. There is still no date set for a bullpen session, and in his pregame meeting with the media Wednesday, manager Scott Servais admitted something that has been becoming more an more apparent.
“The clock is ticking. He will be late to start,” Servais said.
With Furbush out for opening day, the door is wide open for Mike Montgomery.
“I like Mike’s stuff. I think he has got a chance to have a huge year for us in that role; it’s just a matter of getting him comfortable,” Servais said. “But that’s what it’s going to be, so why not?”
Why not, indeed. Out of options and with no spot in the starting rotation available, Montgomery could be a fit in the bullpen. He must make the transition quickly, however, and first thing is first, according to Servais.
“I think it is important that he knows the first guy he is going to face most nights is a left-handed hitter,” Servais said. “Obviously, he didn’t get the first guy out the other day, but it is a work in progress.”
We have yet to see how Montgomery responds to back-to-back outings, and he will have to be able to do that in order to fill the role. If he can, look for a mix-and-match situation along with Vidal Nuno later in games.
“I think it goes back and forth,” Servais said. “Nuno has thrown the ball well. He can throw any pitch in any count, different angles. I think he has a very good track record against left-handed hitters. We will see how Mike continues to progress.”
Ideally this is a short-term fix. It has the chance to be a good fix, but Furbush is needed in this bullpen.
Also needed in this bullpen: a couple of right-handed arms. Earlier Wednesday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com Tweeted that the Mariners were looking to trade for a reliever. This should be absolutely no surprise to anyone.
Heyman indicated it was because of the loss of Furbush. I would tend to think the Mariners are looking for a right-hander, however, while keeping an eye out for a lefty. They like Nuno. Montgomery could be a good fix.
From the right side, however, they have already lost Evan Scribner and Justin De Fratus, of which at least one and more likely both were penciled in to the bullpen before the start of the spring.
Joel Peralta most likely will take a spot, but that leaves two more. While Blake Parker, Donn Roach and Joe Weiland have pitched well this spring, Peralta is the surprise.
I don’t think they were looking for them to be multiple surprises coming out of camp. I think it is highly likely we see someone brought in from the outside.
Norichika Aoki, LF
Ketel Marte, SS
Kyle Seager, 3B
Adam Lind, 1B
Chris Iannetta, C
Seth Smith, RF
Steve Clevenger, DH
Luis Sardinas, 2B
Leonys Martin, CF
Nate Karns, SP
Franklin Gutierrez once again was a scratch due to the flu. Steve Clevenger, who suffered from the flu a week ago and lost 11 pounds, takes his place as the DH.
With just 10 games remaining, we will start to see position-player starters stay in longer. Servais would also like to get Iannetta in back-to-back games soon.
Pitchers scheduled to follow Karns include Steve Cishek, Nuno, Parker, Joaquin Benoit and Peralta.
Benoit is making his first appearance since March 14. While Servais has said all along that he would make fewer appearances in the spring than the others, turns out he has been dealing with soreness.
“Benoit had a little back, back, back of the shoulder that they worked on for a couple of days,” Servais said. “He as much anyone in that clubhouse knows what to do to get ready. The biggest thing is to have him ready for April 4, but I am looking forward to getting him out there.”
• The clubhouse was closed for an hour and a half Wednesday afternoon for the annual spring training players association meeting. MLBPA president Tony Clark, fresh off the plane from Cuba, met with the team to discuss a number of issues, including the recent rule changes and the upcoming collective bargaining agreement.