Charlie Furbush Likely Done for Season with Torn Rotator Cuff


Charlie Furbush has been sidelined with an undisclosed arm issue since July 7, but it was reported on Friday night that he has been diagnosed with a slightly torn left rotator cuff. Bob Dutton of The News Tribune broke the news on Twitter, adding that the left-handed reliever is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Furbush was having his best season as a pro before suffering the injury last month. He is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA across 33 appearances in 2015. Furbush has tallied 17 strikeouts and walked 5 over the course of 21.2 innings pitched. The lanky lefty has held the opposition to a measly 0.646 walks/hits per inning this season. Left-handed hitters are hitting a combined .105 against Furbush this year.

The 29-year-old has been the Mariners best left-handed reliever in each of the past four seasons. Since 2012, Furbush has appeared in 219 games while posting a respectable 3.23 ERA. He has registered a 3.41 strikeout to walk ratio, and has held the opposition to 1.049 walks/hits per inning.

This is not the first major arm injury Furbush has suffered during his career. He underwent the dreaded Tommy John surgery during his college days. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times suggests that Furbush’s unique delivery predisposes his to arm injuries. Obviously, I do not have a medical degree, but that logic does seem to make sense to me. Furbush employs a whipping motion on the mound, and that cannot be easy on the arm.

Surprisingly, Charlie Furbush is actually relieved about his recent diagnosis. Furbish told the Seattle Times on Friday that “It gives a little bit of peace of mind for me as well as the training staff, just to know what’s going on there.” His sentiment is understandable when you consider Furbush’s ailment was somewhat of a mystery to those involved until yesterday afternoon.

Furbush also told the Seattle Times that surgery has not been suggested to correct the slight tear in his rotator cuff. “(Team surgeon Dr. Edward Khalfayan) didn’t recommend surgery, so that’s probably a good sign.” However, the Mariners have sent the results of his MRI to Dr. David Altchek in New York for a second opinion. Altchek specializes in sports surgery, and should provide Seattle with a definitive course of treatment.

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There is a slim chance Furbush will pitch again in 2015, assuming he avoids going under the knife. However, I do not expect the Mariners to rush him back in what has essentially turned into a lost season. Furbush told the Seattle Times, “If I can get back this year, then great. If not, we’ll look forward to next.”

There is little doubt the M’s will sorely miss one of the best lefty specialists in baseball during the final 6 weeks. Furbush’s absence will be even more pronounced given the recent injury to Joe Beimel and the mid-season trade of Mark Lowe.

Hopefully, Charlie Furbush is successful in rehabing his arm this offseason, and will be ready to go next March in spring training.

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