SEATTLE -- After starting 10 games for the Mariners last year following his acquisition from the Tigers in the Doug Fister deal, Charlie Furbush has slid seamlessly into his new role in the bullpen this season.How well is the lanky lefty throwing? In his last 10 2/3 innings prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Padres, opposing batters were 0-for-30 against the 25-year-old. The only baserunners he allowed in that nine-game span have been on a hit by pitch and an error that he committed. Furbush has allowed the lowest on-base percentage of any pitcher in the Majors with at least 20 innings at .179. Opposing batters are hitting just .128 with 10 hits in 22 2/3 innings, and he's racked up 26 strikeouts with four walks. "I feel good," Furbush said. "A lot of people ask which I like better, starting or relieving. And honestly, I like them both. It's all pitching. Being able to experience both, I love both of them and they're each cool in their own way. As long as I can keep contributing to the team, that's all I'm worried about." The coolest part of being a reliever? "Putting my cleats on every day knowing that I can pitch," he said. "Being a starter, you cheer your team on four out of five days and know you're not going to go in. Maybe you might pinch-run, but I'm not a fast guy, so probably not. Now I'm getting ready every day, whether it be for one or two batters or three innings, like the other day." Furbush said the knowledge that he doesn't need to stretch out over six or more innings does provide an edge. "For me, it's being committed to every pitch because I'm not going to get a ton of them," he said. "So I want to make sure the ones I do get, I'm giving everything I have and being completely for that pitch in every situation. That's really all I can do."
Pryor awaits MRI after injuring groin
SEATTLE -- Mariners reliever Stephen Pryor left Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Padres in the ninth inning after experiencing tightness in his left groin and will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.With one out in the ninth, the Padres' Everth Cabrera hit a ground ball that first baseman Justin Smoak fielded and tossed to the rookie reliever, who was running to cover the bag. Pryor pulled up before reaching the base. The right-hander exited without attempting to throw another pitch. "Just kind of tightened up doing the normal run over to first, something that happens, but don't think it's too serious," he said. Pryor is 1-0 with five strikeouts, three walks and a 1.69 ERA in six appearances since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on June 1.
Millwood's Thursday start in doubt
SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Kevin Millwood played catch in the outfield prior to Tuesday's game against the Padres, but manager Eric Wedge said no decision has been made as to whether he'll start Thursday as scheduled.Millwood has been recovering from a slightly pulled right groin muscle since pitching six innings during the Mariners' combined no-hitter on Friday against the Dodgers. Wedge said the 37-year-old "should be able to start this week," but is leaving open what day that might be. At this point, Jason Vargas is slated to go Friday against the Giants and Blake Beavan will face them Saturday, both on an extra day of rest because of Monday's off-day. But if Millwood isn't ready, the Mariners can slide both those starters up one day and still pitch them on normal rest. "We've got a couple different options, so we're not deciding anything just yet," Wedge said. "We can push Kevin back as far as Saturday, so we'll see. He felt really good playing catch today. He'll throw some flat ground tomorrow. So I think tomorrow we'll know a lot more." The options diminish by Saturday because at that point, Felix Hernandez would be next in line and he'd need to pitch on just three days' rest, which isn't going to happen as he comes off an extended layoff with a sore back. The other options would be using long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma for a spot start or bringing rookie Erasmo Ramirez up from Triple-A Tacoma, but Wedge sounded as if he doesn't expect either of those plans will be employed at this point.
• Chone Figgins got the start in left field on Tuesday and Wedge said it was in part because Mike Carp's left shoulder had bothered him a little in recent days. Carp missed 23 games earlier in the year with a sprained shoulder."He's been feeling that a little more, so we're taking a good look at that right now," Wedge said. • Former Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night's game as part of the team's ongoing 35th Anniversary celebration. • Franklin Gutierrez went 0-for-5 at designated hitter for Triple-A Tacoma on Monday and is batting .235 nine games into his rehab stint. • The Jackson Generals, Seattle's Double-A team, clinched the first-half Southern League North title with five games still remaining by beating Jacksonville, 8-0, on Monday to improve to 39-26. Brandon Mauer improved to 5-1 with a 3.42 ERA with 7 1/3 shutout innings. Shortstop Nick Franklin went 2-for-5, raising his team-leading average to .325, while DH Joe Dunigan hit his 10th home run. • The Mariners have made Thursday's game at Safeco Field a celebration of Friday's no-hitter against the Dodgers. All fans attending the 7:10 p.m. PT contest against the Padres will receive a commemorative poster of the six pitchers who combined for the no-hitter, while all View-level seats will sell for $6.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.