Zoning in on the 2016 Mariners is a daily series in which we’ll examine one player every day, 30 total, in the lead-up to Opening Day. We’ll explain their role on the field, what they’re like off of it and provide highlights and photos. On deck tomorrow: Shawn O’Malley.
Save for Felix Hernandez, no player has been with the Mariners longer than Charlie Furbush. Acquired from the Tigers in 2011 trade that sent Doug Fister and David Pauley to Detroit, Furbush was something of an afterthought to some in a deal that also brought in prospect Francisco Martinez and Casper Wells. But since then, he’s proven to be an invaluable part of the bullpen–and clubhouse.
Furbush has a reputation as a character in the clubhouse, something even the fans have experienced through his weekly Bullpen Banter segments on the radio and the Mariners Podcast. But it hasn’t always been that way, as Joaquin Benoit, a teammate of his back in Detroit, recently noted when asked what a young Charlie Furbush was like.
“Totally different than what he is right now. He was shy, nervous,” said Benoit. “Now you walk in the clubhouse and it’s Charlie hanging from the ceiling.”
Now, Furbush has more than cemented himself as part of the club on and off the field.
Since joining the Mariners in 2011, the left-hander has appeared in 230 games, already in the top 15 for appearances by a Mariners pitcher all-time.
Manager Scott Servais recently said at Spring Training that “track records weigh heavily” in assigning roles in a bullpen. And it’s clear Furbush certainly has a good one. But at this point, there’s more at play, as Furbush works his way back from biceps tendinitis and a slight rotator-cuff tear suffered in 2015.
The Mariners are taking it easy and playing it safe, slowing things down a bit after a little bit of soreness. Furbush is working through it, and isn’t overly concerned.
“Overall I am not too worried about it,” Furbush recently said. “It’s one of those things where I have been tested by the doctor and everything came back negative on the tests. Maybe it is just some inflammation or some tightness that I need to shake out, so it might take a few more days. But I should just keep working hard and be back soon.”
Off the Field
Furbush lives in Seattle year-round, having a place and spending each of the past few offseasons here in the city.
“It’s been incredible, being able to see the city in a way that I really haven’t had time to see it during the season,” Furbush said on the Hot Stove show during Fan Fest. “I met a lot of cool people, and absolutely love the environment–the landscape and the skyline, all the mountains are just incredible to view every day.”
Last year, Charlie Furbush was the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, the honor given annually to the Major Leaguer who best represents the sport through positive contributions on and off the field.
“Charlie is really a 12-months-of-the-year man,” said Sean Grindley, Mariners manager of community programs, in speaking with Portland Press Herald. “Charlie speaks in front of groups, visits children in hospitals, serves as a chairman for our cystic fibrosis golf tournament and takes part in our multi-state caravan.”
Speaking of golf, Charlie is a big golfer as well.
More in the Zoning In on the 2016 Mariners series:
- Norichika Aoki
- Luis Sardinas
- Chris Taylor
- Boog Powell
- Nathan Karns
- Vidal Nuno
- Justin De Fratus
- Mike Zunino
- Steve Clevenger
- Adam Lind
- Wade Miley
- On deck: Shawn O’Malley
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