Walker wearing boot on sore right foot

Furbush making strides toward return to Mariners, but Vincent is not

Walker wearing boot on sore right foot

SEATTLE -- Taijuan Walker was sporting a boot on his sore right foot on Friday to help alleviate the tendinitis in his arch that has been nagging him the last month, but the Mariners hope to get the young right-hander back in their rotation later this month.

The news was also positive with long-injured lefty reliever Charlie Furbush coming out of the All-Star break as he's now thrown three Minor League rehab games and is finally making progress on the mound while working back from a year's battle with shoulder issues.

However, right-handed reliever Nick Vincent might be further away than expected after experiencing a setback with his mid-back strain while playing catch last week, so he remains shut down from throwing while waiting for that issue to calm down.

With Felix Hernandez making his final rehab start on Friday night in Tacoma, the Mariners are hopeful of a big boost to their rotation in the coming days. Hernandez is scheduled to rejoin the club on Wednesday against the White Sox and Walker is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list when the Mariners open a 10-day road trip next Friday in Toronto.

How quickly Walker is ready remains to be seen, but manager Scott Servais said a trip to foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., last week confirmed that there was no structural issues in the arch.

"He's got the boot on for about a week," Servais said. "Once he gets that off, we'll get him doing some mobility stuff. He got another little shot in there to try to calm that down. It's kind of what we thought it was all along. It's something that he should be able to pitch with."

Furbush's situation is a lot more tenuous, given he hasn't appeared in a Major League game in more than a year due to rotator cuff issues. But he pitched twice for Class A Short-Season Everett last week, then threw two-thirds of an inning on Thursday for Triple-A Tacoma.

Furbush got two outs on easy grounders in his last outing, then was taken out after being hit in the back by a line-drive single. But he said that was only precautionary and he'll throw another inning for Tacoma on Saturday.

"Everything has been going well," Furbush said. "I felt my best last night. Unfortunately I got hit in the back. It's part of being a pitcher, I guess, but my arm felt good. That was the most important part for me."

The Mariners have fared well with lefty relievers Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno this season, but Montgomery is making a push to regain a rotation spot, so Furbush could indeed have a place if he proves ready to return.

"It's definitely been up and down, but I finally feel I'm making progress and everything is going toward where it should be going," Furbush said. "And that's hopefully back up here in the next couple weeks."

Vincent, sidelined since June 27, is hoping for the same. His back issue initially was expected to be short term, but hasn't cleared up as quickly as hoped and he hasn't thrown since one light session on July 4.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.