At least now, Mariners lefty reliever Charlie Furbush has the peace of mind of knowing why his arm wasn’t responding as expected to rest and treatment.
He has a slight tear in his rotator cuff, the collection of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint.
“Honestly, when I heard the news,” Furbush said, “it doesn’t feel that bad. It’s a little peace of mind for me, and the training staff as well, just to know what’s going on there.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon said it’s “highly unlikely” that Furbush, 29, will pitch again this season. Furbush was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis after a July 7 appearance against Detroit.
Furbush’s slow recovery prompted another examination earlier this week by Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the club’s medical director. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam revealed the tear.
“It wasn’t a big tear,” Furbush said. “It wasn’t a full tear. He just said a slight tear in the rotator cuff. For me, it was like, ‘All right, that’s what I’ve got to deal with.’”
Furbush is scheduled to get a second opinion on his injury from Dr. David Altchek, a specialist in New York who also serves as the Mets’ medical director.
“We came to the conclusion that we’re going to wait for the second opinion,” Furbush said, “and then figure out a game plan. They didn’t recommend surgery. So that’s a good thing.”
Furbush said he expects a plan to be in place by early next week.
“All options are on the table at this point,” he said. “We’re just going to see what gets diagnosed. We’ll just take it a day at a time. We’re trying not to look too far ahead.”
Furbush was enjoying his finest season prior to the injury; he was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 33 games and had stranded all 16 of his inherited runners.
BEIMEL TO DISABLED LIST
Veteran left-hander Joe Beimel, as expected, was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s game because of what the Mariners termed “posterior inflammation in his left shoulder.”
The Mariners replaced Beimel by recalling lefty Rob Rasmussen from Triple-A Tacoma.
Beimel said his shoulder felt “like I was throwing through mud” after he gave up home runs to three consecutive hitters in Wednesday’s 7-2 loss at Texas.
That capped a stretch in which he gave up 12 runs (10 earned) in 1 2/3 innings over five appearances. Prior to that, Beimel, 38, had a 2.50 ERA in 37 games.
“This is just overuse and fatigue,” he said. “I’ll take a couple of days off and not throw. Then start work on strengthening it. I don’t expect to be out more than the 15 days, then come back in September and finish strong.”
By placing Beimel on the disabled list, the Mariners were able to recall Rasmussen, who had been optioned to Tacoma after last Sunday’s game at Boston.
Players optioned to the minors can’t return for 10 days unless they replace a player placed on the disabled list.
Rasmussen, 26, worked one scoreless inning Wednesday for the Rainiers at Colorado Springs before returning to the big leagues.
The Mariners acquired Rasmussen along with minor league lefties Nick Wells and Jake Brentz from Toronto in a July 31 trade for veteran reliever Mark Lowe.
Rasmussen was 2-1 with a 16.20 ERA in eight big-league outings before he was sent to Tacoma. Much of the damage came when he gave up six runs to the Rangers without retiring a batter on Aug. 8.
“His game against Texas was an aberration,” McClendon said. “I think he’s pitching much better than that.”
Some good news on the rehab front: Left-hander James Paxton, barring an unexpected setback, will start Sunday for Tacoma against Memphis (Cardinals) at Cheney Stadium.
Paxton flashed a thumbs-up following a Friday throwing session that marked the final test in his recovery from a strained tendon in his middle finger prior to departing on a minor league rehab assignment.
“He’ll go out in his first outing," McClendon said, “and hopefully throw somewhere around 45-50 pitches. Second outing, we’ll try to get him built up to 65-70. Then we’ll see.”
A best-case scenario projects Paxton to return to the rotation around Labor Day. He was 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 10 starts when he suffered the injury in the fifth inning of a May 28 start against Cleveland.
THREE IN ONE
Right fielder Nelson Cruz carried a 30-game streak of reaching base at least once into Friday’s series opener against the White Sox. It is the longest such streak this season by an American League player.
Cruz also has the AL’s longest hitting streak at 21 games (July 21 to Aug. 11) and the longest homer streak at five games (twice; April 11-15 and July 31-Aug. 4).
That puts him on pace to be just the fourth player since 1914 to have the AL’s top streaks in those categories.
Babe Ruth did it in 1921 with the New York Yankees, Goose Goslin in 1928 with the Washington Senators and Roy Sievers did it in 1960 with the Chicago White Sox.
Right-hander Nick Neidert, the club’s top pick in the June draft, remains winless in 10 starts at Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League despite a 1.39 ERA.
Neidert, 18, gave up one hit Thursday in five scoreless innings but got a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to the Reds. He is 0-2 while allowing five earned runs and 21 hits in 32 1/3 innings. He has 20 strikeouts and eight walks.
The Mariners selected Neidert in the second round with the 60th overall pick. They lost their first-round pick by signing free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz in the offseason after he received a qualifying offer from Baltimore.
It was a year ago Saturday — Aug. 22, 2014 — that Felix Hernandez became the first pitcher in franchise history and only the ninth in major league history to register 200 or more strikeouts in six consecutive seasons.
He had seven when he got a no-decision in a 5-3 victory at Boston.
Hernandez entered Friday’s start against the White Sox with 147 strikeouts. Counting Friday, he projects to get nine more starts.
Only three pitchers have 200 or more strikeouts in seven consecutive seasons. Tom Seaver (1968-76) had a nine-year run; Roger Clemens (1986-92) and Walter Johnson (1910-16) had seven-year streaks.
Friday was the 75th convening of the King’s Court for games started by Felix Hernandez at Safeco Field. He was 36-24 with a 2.94 ERA in the previous 74 games. … Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who spent the first five of his 24 seasons with the Mariners, is one of six members in the 2016 class for the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame. … The Mariners, entering Friday, had won 69.2 percent of their replay challenges (18-for-26). The only AL club with a higher percentage was New York at 73.9 percent.
The Mariners and White Sox continue their three-game series at 6:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Left-hander Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.67) tries to break an 18-start winless streak when he faces Chicago lefty Carlos Rodon (5-5, 4.42). Nuno is 0-9 with a 3.80 ERA in 36 games, including 18 starts, since his last victory.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710-AM