There’s growing concern among Mariners brass about the health of left-hander Charlie Furbush’s shoulder, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Furbush’s 2015 season ended in July due to biceps tendinitis and a minor tear in his rotator cuff, and it was decided then that he would pursue a non-surgical rehab route. Now, however, he feels continued tightness in the shoulder the day after throwing sessions. Furbush will play catch on Tuesday, but manager Scott Servais voiced some concern about Furbush’s availability for Opening Day. Dutton reports that Mike Montgomery could be the beneficiary of the situation, as the out-of-options starter is being converted to a bullpen role and will vie for a relief job with the Mariners over the remainder of Spring Training.
Here’s more from the AL West…
- A numbers crunch on the Athletics’ roster could leave versatile infielder Eric Sogard without a roster spot, as Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area writes. Sogard is the second-longest tenured member of the roster, but the addition of Chris Coghlan, whom the A’s plan to use all over the diamond in a Ben Zobrist type of role, makes it tougher to carry the defensively gifted Sogard. GM David Forst didn’t rule out a trade of some kind to alleviate a perceived roster logjam at the time of adding Coghlan, Stiglich notes, though Sogard also has minor league options remaining, so he could be sent down and begin the season at Triple-A.
- Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie can opt out of his minor league deal with the Rangers on March 28 if he’s not going to make the Opening Day roster, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. The veteran righty could be the “safe bet” to win the club’s fifth starter job right now, per Sullivan, although both A.J. Griffin and Cesar Ramos have looked sharp as well, he notes. Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez are all vying for the spot, too, as are righties Anthony Ranaudo and Phil Klein, though Sullivan notes that the latter two are at the back of the pack.
- Astros catcher Max Stassi flew to Houston yesterday to have an injury in to the hamate in his left wrist examined by a hand specialist, writes Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. Stassi, who turns 25 tomorrow, entered Spring Training as the favorite to back up Jason Castro behind the plate, though this injury certainly clouds the likelihood of that scenario playing out. Manager A.J. Hinch voiced confidence in Alfredo Gonzalez, the lone alternative on Houston’s 40-man roster, as well as non-roster invitees Tyler Heineman and Roberto Pena, praising each catcher’s defensive abilities. Designated hitter Evan Gattis has plenty of experience at catcher as well, of course, but he got a late start to Spring Training due to surgery to repair a hernia.