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Furbush nearing Minors rehab assignment

Reliever eyeing return from biceps tendinitis

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush threw a 33-pitch bullpen session on Sunday at Target Field and said his left arm is back to feeling normal as he returns from biceps tendinitis that has sidelined him since July 9.

The 29-year-old lefty will throw another bullpen outing on Wednesday in Colorado, then head out on a Minor League rehab session with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday if all goes well.

"I felt better," Furbush said. "I threw more pitches today, a little more velo. I'm still just building it back up, so I just need to stick at it. I'm pretty much feeling like a normal arm, for the most part. So that's a good sign."

Furbush said he threw all fastballs on Sunday, but will mix in breaking pitches Wednesday in his final test.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "Hopefully I pick it up real quick and I'm back before I know it."

Furbush has been a valuable piece in the Mariners' bullpen with a 2.08 ERA in 33 appearances, with opponents hitting just .122 against him.

Video: SEA@MIN: Cano opens scoring with RBI groundout

Worth noting

Robinson Cano played designated hitter for a second straight day on Sunday as he returns from an abdominal strain that sidelined him for three games. He'll need to be able to play second base starting Monday, however, since the Mariners are headed to a three-game Interleague series in Colorado.

If he's not ready, rookie Ketel Marte will continue to play second base and Cano will need to sit out.

"I think I'll be good," Cano said.

• McClendon reiterated that he'll stick with rookie Carson Smith as his closer despite three straight losses.

"I don't want to get on that emotional roller coaster where you do bad for a couple outings, so you go back to [Fernando] Rodney," he said. "Everybody tried to run Rodney out of town, now they want him to be the closer again."

Jesus Montero wasn't in the lineup on Sunday after getting hit in the head in a first-base collision in Saturday's 3-2 loss. McClendon said the Mariners were being cautious with the former catcher because of his history of concussions.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.
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