'Good day' for Mariners lefty Furbush

'Good day' for Mariners lefty Furbush

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners got some good news from Charlie Furbush on Wednesday as the lefty setup man felt good enough in a long-toss session that he fired off a handful of fastballs at the end of the workout, and he said his shoulder felt great.

Furbush has been brought along slowly all camp after finishing last season with a three-month stint on the disabled list with a slight rotator cuff tear. The Mariners backed off his throwing program after he felt some tightness in his triceps after a round of live batting practice last week, but he played catch on Tuesday and lengthened it out Wednesday.

"I threw at about 130 feet and it went very good," Furbush said. "Then I came in and threw probably five or six pitches off flat ground, just fastballs, and had some late life on them, which I was looking for. So I'll do that again tomorrow and ideally move on up to hopefully a [bullpen session] shortly after that. We're just going to be smart and keep moving forward, but today was a good day."

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Furbush hasn't thrown in a game since going on the disabled list last July 9 after posting a 2.08 ERA in 33 games. The Mariners are counting on him to be a key figure in their bullpen, but it figures to be difficult to have him ready for the start of the season, which is now less than three weeks away.

With Furbush's status uncertain, the Mariners are shy on southpaw relievers, with only Vidal Nuno and David Rollins also in camp, so starting candidate Mike Montgomery has been shifted to the bullpen. Montgomery made his first relief appearance in Wednesday's 9-6 win over the Giants and threw a quick fifth inning, with an infield single later erased by a double-play grounder.

"We're going to get more and more looks at him and see how he bounces back," manager Scott Servais said. "Today, I thought his stuff was very good. His fastball had some down angle to it, and I'm interested to see how this plays out with him in the bullpen."

Worth noting

• Right fielder Nelson Cruz snapped an 0-for-17 start with a single in the fifth, but Servais said the big slugger is still working on his timing at the plate and appeared tentative on several of his swings.

"He just needs to keep swinging, keep hacking," Servais said. "Just keep going up there aggressive and don't feel for it. At times today, I thought he looked like he felt for it a little bit."

• First baseman Adam Lind was scratched from Wednesday's game due to a flu bug that has hit a few players and staffers. Bench coach Tim Bogar also was sent home. Catcher Steve Clevenger rejoined the club after missing two days, but wasn't in the lineup.

• The Mariners' pitching probables for the next few days: James Paxton starts Thursday against the A's in Mesa at 1:05 p.m. PT; Nathan Karns throws Friday against the Rangers in Peoria at 1:10 p.m.; Taijuan Walker travels to Surprise to face the Royals in a 1:05 p.m. split-squad game on Saturday, with Felix Hernandez making his second spring start Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. against the D-backs. The Rangers and D-backs games will be televised live on Root Sports and MLB.TV.

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