Furbush won't be ready to open season in 'pen

Mariners' lefty slowed by shoulder, muscle soreness

Furbush won't be ready to open season in 'pen

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manager Scott Servais acknowledged Wednesday that left-handed setup man Charlie Furbush won't be ready to open the season in the Mariners' bullpen, leaving Vidal Nuno and converted starter Mike Montgomery as the two available southpaws in relief unless general manager Jerry Dipoto brings in further help in the next two weeks.

Furbush hasn't thrown in a game since going on the disabled list with shoulder issues last July 9. He didn't require surgery for a slight rotator cuff tear, but has been slowed by some lingering soreness in the shoulder as well as his triceps muscle this spring.

"I don't have a timeframe yet of when he's going to get on the mound," Servais said. "Like we talked about four or five days ago, the clock is ticking. He'll be late to start [the season]."

Mariners Spring Training info

Furbush threw two batting practice sessions earlier in camp, but has since been limited to just playing long toss after the triceps began bothering him. That issue seems to be clearing up, but it'll take time for the 29-year-old to ramp back up through the normal bullpen sessions, live batting practice and simulated game situations before he's allowed to pitch in games.

Servais didn't want to anoint either Nuno or Montgomery as the setup man, saying the two could be used interchangeably. Both are former starters who can pitch multiple innings and are comfortable facing left- and right-handed hitters, but Servais noted the two have very different pitching styles.

"I think it goes back and forth," Servais said of their potential roles. "I think Nuno has thrown the ball well. He can throw any pitch in any count and at different angles. He has a very good track record against left-handed hitters. I feel comfortable there. We'll see how Mike continues to progress."

Montgomery has made two relief appearances since being told he's now competing for a relief role and the Mariners are intrigued by the potential, particularly because he's out of Minor League options and doesn't appear to have a path to making the club as a starter.

Worth noting

• The Mariners' rotation for the remainder of the week: Taijuan Walker faces the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale on Thursday; Felix Hernandez gets the Friday start against the White Sox at Peoria; Wade Miley goes Saturday against the Dodgers in Peoria and James Paxton faces the Cubs on Sunday in Mesa. The Rockies game will be televised on the MLB Network and the White Sox and Dodgers games are available to watch on MLB.TV.

• Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma isn't listed in the next five games. Servais said he'll likely pitch in a Minor League game instead. Iwakuma told Japanese reporters he had some issues with a blister on his middle throwing finger after his 79-pitch start on Monday against the Dodgers, but Servais said he hadn't been told of any problem.

• Veteran right-hander Joel Peralta celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday. The non-roster invitee has an excellent shot at earning a spot in Seattle's bullpen as he's had a strong spring for a club looking for relief help.

• Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez was scratched with the flu again on Wednesday. Servais said he's the only one still dealing with the illness that has sidelined several players and coaches in the past week.

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.