Furbush ready to serve any role for Mariners

Furbush ready to serve any role for Mariners

PHOENIX -- Left-hander Charlie Furbush ran his scoreless inning streak to six with a perfect fifth frame in Tuesday's 7-4 victory over the Brewers, as the Mariners continue looking to see where he fits best this year.

Furbush, 25, seems headed more toward a relief role based on his use this spring, though the Mariners haven't ruled out extending him to starter status at some point. But with seven starters competing for five rotation berths already, his best opportunity may come in the bullpen.

"They haven't said anything to me, so I'm assuming it could be both at this point," said Furbush, who was obtained from the Tigers in the Doug Fister trade last July. "I'm just trying to not really worry about that and just go out and pitch."

He's pitched very well to date, allowing just four hits and no runs in six innings. Furbush was a starter all his life until spending some time in the Tigers' bullpen last year. He said he feels plenty strong enough to get extended if that is the plan, but understands the situation.

"Being a starter you get the routine planned out a little bit," he said. "In the bullpen, when that phone rings you need to get ready to go. It's the difference between knowing and not knowing. That's something that was new to me last year, because I've always been a starter, but I enjoyed it. Being able to hang out in the bullpen was a cool experience.

"Obviously if it goes that route this year, I just want to be on the team. That's the goal."

Manager Eric Wedge seems to be gaining confidence in Furbush the more he's seen this spring.

"You know what, he's starting to figure it out a little bit," said the skipper. "He's in better control of his body, which allows his arm to work better, which allows him to have a more consistent release point.

"He has the arm, he has stuff, he just has to stay over the rubber and keep his delivery together and put him in a position to deliver the ball more consistently at home plate. He's really working hard at it and it's starting to leak into his game."

Wedge acknowledged Furbush could still be used in either role this season, noting that things could change for a few pitchers after the team goes to Japan for its two-game series with the A's and then has a week before returning to regular-season play.