07/31/11 7:00 PM ET
Wells, Furbush ready for fresh start in Seattle
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Manager Eric Wedge wasted no time getting the outgoing Wells into action, as the 26-year-old New York native started in left field and hit seventh in Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Rays. Wells went 1-for-4 and drove in the Mariners' lone run.
"I'm eager to play," Wells said before the game. "I haven't played in a couple of days, so I'm champing at the bit to get out there.
"This is a beautiful field. When I came here earlier in the year, I was a little overwhelmed at how big it is. It's the same size as Qwest Field when I was driving by. I'm thinking, 'I'm going to play in this thing?' When I got out on the field, I was like, 'Wow, this place is so nice. You can breathe out here.'"
As for the unique name? Wells is the first Casper to play in the Major Leagues -- Robert Anthony Asbjornson, nicknamed Casper, played parts of four seasons from 1928-32, according to baseball-reference.com -- but he's certainly not the first Casper Wells in the world.
"I'm the fifth Casper Wells. It's been around for five generations. It was around before the cartoon, so all friendly ghost jokes can be put aside," Wells said with a grin. "I'm surprised I don't hear them that much from the away fans. They just sometimes make fun of my parents for naming me that. But I'm the fifth, so take it up with my great great grandfather."
Left-hander Charlie Furbush, the other Major League player acquired in Saturday's trade of Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Tigers, will work out of the bullpen for now, with the goal of moving him into the rotation for a look once he builds his arm strength back up.
Furbush came on in the eighth inning Sunday and yielded a solo home run to Sean Rodriguez, but he rebounded to retire the side and threw 13 of his 21 pitches for strikes.
The 25-year-old said he's always been a starter until this season with the Tigers, when he made 15 relief appearances and two starts. He said he prefers being in the rotation, if possible.
"I do. We'll see what happens," said the youngster from Louisiana State University. "I was talking to Wedge about it. We'll kind of take it a day at a time and go from there. ... I'd like to say I could go right now. But at the end of the day, they're probably going to stretch me out at least a couple of times before they put me in the rotation."
The 6-foot-5 lefty started nine games for Triple-A Toledo earlier this season, going 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA and posting 61 strikeouts in 54 innings. He last started on July 14 and threw roughly 90 pitches.
With the Tigers, Furbush started twice in early July, but lasted just 4 2/3 and 2 2/3 innings (0-2, 8.59 ERA). He was very effective in his bullpen stints, with a 2.16 ERA over 25 innings in 15 outings.
Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 2007, this is Furbush's first time being traded and he acknowledged that the experience was a bit of a whirlwind.
"It happened pretty quick, that's for sure," he said. "I found out the news yesterday, had to pack up my place and head on a plane to get here. But it's part of the business. I'm excited and looking forward to see what happens."
Furbush and Wells were living in the same building in downtown Detroit, so Wells quickly went to his teammate's apartment after seeing on television the two had been swapped Saturday morning.
"I was eating breakfast and almost spit my food out," Wells said. "I rode down the elevator and knocked on his door and said, 'Hey man, we're going to Seattle.' It was pretty exciting for both of us. I had all smiles on the flight over here, seeing the beautiful mountains. It was awesome."
The next two months will be all about baseball, however, with the pair getting a chance to show the Mariners where they might fit into future plans.
"We're going to have Furbush in the bullpen initially, but I think there's a good chance that at some point in time he'll get some starts for us, too," Wedge said. "With Wells, he can play all three spots in the outfield. He was playing primarily against lefties over there, but I want to see him more regularly than that."
Wells hit .257 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 64 games with the Tigers, and he sees better times ahead for both himself and Furbush.
"I see it as a tremendous opportunity," Wells said. "With a team that's doing well like Detroit, you have a limited role with some of the guys they have. I feel like I have an opportunity to play a lot more here. Skip said he wants to get a good look at me. That's all I ask for, just to get an opportunity."
As for his scouting report on Furbush?
"He's got his funky delivery and a nasty slider," Wells said. "I told him I'd have trouble facing him. It seems like he's pretty tough on righties with the angle he comes at. And lefties as well. He's got electric stuff."