PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners left-hander Charlie Furbush will begin a series of blood injections called Regenokine therapy on Wednesday with the hope of speeding the healing process in his sore left shoulder, though the veteran reliever will start the season on the disabled list and is likely several months from being ready for games.
Furbush had a partial tear in his left rotator cuff last season, but doctors elected not to do surgery and let the shoulder heal on its own. But after continued tightness in the left triceps area following his early throwing sessions this spring, the 29-year-old was shut down and says he's probably three weeks or so from starting a throwing program.
Regenokine therapy was used by NBA star Kobe Bryant for knee issues several years ago, but Furbush doesn't believe it's been used much yet for Major League pitchers.
"It's a series of injections to hopefully relieve everything," he said. "We'll give it a whirl. They brought it up, but it's definitely something that other athletes have tried and seen some good results, so I'm hoping I'm part of that study."
The procedure is similar to the more commonly known platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy that other athletes have used to promote healing.
"Hopefully we get great results and I'll be back on the mound in no time," Furbush said. "I'm just eager to try something and see if I can relieve that last little bit and get over the hump. I was pretty close before and I got a little tightness. If I can get over that, I should be good to go."
The Mariners were hoping Furbush could fill the role of left-handed setup man this season. He posted a 2.08 ERA in 33 outings while holding left-handed hitters to a .105 batting average last year before going on the disabled list July 9.
With Furbush out, Vidal Nuno and converted starter Mike Montgomery will be the lefty relievers on the Opening Day roster. But Furbush hopes to rejoin the club as soon as he can build up his arm strength.
"I'm just ready to help the team win," he said. "Seeing spring go by, I've been champing at the bit to get back because I know I can get out there and get the job done. I just have to make sure I do everything right and try to maintain my health and get back on the field as soon as I can."
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.