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Furbush welcomes Arizona sun after winter in Maine

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After a winter in snow-bound Portland, Maine, left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush is among the Mariners players most enjoying the warm sun and mid-80s temperatures as Spring Training gets underway.

Furbush arrived in Peoria a week ago and immediately threw his arms open, welcoming the warm rays of sunshine and the ability to throw outdoors again after several months of playing catch and working out in an indoor soccer facility.

"We had that polar vortex came through and we had some crazy cold weather with negative temperatures," Furbush said. "The wind chill got to like negative 25 and I didn't even want to go outside for awhile."

Furbush couldn't get out of Maine due to weather-related flight cancellations in January, when he was scheduled to participate in the Mariners Caravan around the Northwest, and eventually hooked up with the Caravan a week later.

But Furbush is true to his northeastern roots and returns every offseason to his home in South Portland, which he says is a lot like Seattle, just on the opposite coast and corner of the country.

"People always ask me, 'Why do you go to Maine? It's so cold,'" he said. "But that's where it all started, it works for me and I can do everything I need to do to get ready. Luckily for me, I can just get on a plane, snap the fingers and here I am in nice weather. It's a nice transition and I definitely enjoy getting out here."

Furbush threw his first bullpen session Friday and said he felt great. New manager Lloyd McClendon knows Furbush from when the southpaw was coming up in the Tigers' organization and has already spoken highly of his lefty reliever several times.

"He's funky," McClendon said. "He's tall, lanky, coming across his body. If I was left-handed, I don't know if I'd want to face him. I saw him when he pitched against us, too. He was pretty good."

And McClendon's presence is another reason the southpaw is smiling this spring.

"I love him," Furbush said. "He's a great guy, a great person to be around. So much positive energy and a winning mentality he's bringing. I was pretty excited when he got the job. I heard he was in the running, so for him to get it and have some of the other Tigers staff come with him, it's great. That's where it all started for me and now it comes back. So it's nice to have that connection and have the relationship continue."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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