SEATTLE -- Charlie Furbush had never pitched more than 55 games in a season before this year, but the Mariners lefty reliever says he's feeling good and looking to finish up strong even after 70 appearances this season.
The Mariners have five relievers with 50-plus appearances this season, tying for the most in club history with the 2005 and '07 squad. Entering Saturday's game, Furbush (70), Yoervis Medina (62), Oliver Perez (61), Tom Wilhelmsen (58) and Carter Capps (52) have all been used extensively, while Danny Farquhar has 45 appearances since joining the club on May 17.
Furbush, a converted starter who pitched 48 games for the Mariners and seven in the Minors on an injury rehab last year, said it's a good thing to be establishing that kind of work load.
"We're still not done yet," Furbush said prior to Saturday's game with the A's. "I'm just taking it a day at a time, as always. The bullpen guys have made it a point to stick together and stay strong and finish strong, because the ultimate goal is to pitch beyond this point. You want to pitch into October.
"You can't give in, you can't give up," said Furbush, who has posted a 3.78 ERA in 64 1/3 innings. "There's still work to be done. Same thing. Just keeping it simple and one pitch at a time. Even though there's only two games left, we can't cash them in."
Wedge: Departure based primarily on vision
SEATTLE -- A day after announcing he wouldn't be returning to the Mariners next season, manager Eric Wedge had one clear message for the media in his pregame chat prior to facing the A's on Saturday afternoon.
Initial reports spoke largely to the fact Wedge had not been offered a long-term contract and wasn't willing to take a one-year extension to stay in Seattle, but the third-year skipper said there was far more to it.
The primary issue, he said, was a different vision from team CEO Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik.
"Let me be clear here," Wedge said, "the contract is not the reason I'm not coming back here. If they offered me a five-year contract, I'm not coming back here. So let's be clear with that. Where they see the club -- they being Howard, Chuck and Jack -- and where I see the club and my vision of the future is just different. That's as plain as I can make it."
Wedge declined to get into specific differences, saying they ran the "gamut." But he referred several times to the youthful rebuilding process the club underwent again this year. Three rookie position players -- shortstop Brad Miller, second baseman Nick Franklin and catcher Mike Zunino -- were brought up in midseason and the pitching staff leaned heavily on youth as well.
"It's just about sticking with the kids that you believe in, adding to it and being patient," he said. "Sticking with the program. And having consistency. You have to have consistency with personnel. Every time you turn over, you start over again to a certain extent."
Wedge noted this year's roster is heavy on older veteran players and very young players, but lacking the in-between group that usually is the core of most good clubs and mid-career veterans on longer-term deals who are vested in the team's future.
"Kendrys [Morales] was good, Raul [Ibanez] was good. One-year deals," Wedge said. "[Michael] Morse and [Franklin] Gutierrez didn't work out. Then you had [Jesus] Montero and [Brendan] Ryan didn't work out. [Dustin] Ackley, we had to adjust and have him go back down and figure it out and go to the outfield and that's worked out well for him.
"Starting pitching will be a big part of these guys moving forward. But where we were in Spring Training and where we were very shortly after that were two different things. We went right back to rebuild mode and started bringing up all these kids. You just can't get around it. I still feel like before I got sick, they were just starting to get their mojo going a little there. But that was it."
What do the Mariners need to take that next step?
"It's a combination of the kids continuing to get better and ultimately getting it, getting over that hump and becoming the big leaguers you want them to be." Wedge said. "But you also have to get some guys in here. You have to get somebody you can count on in the middle of your lineup, another one you can count on in the middle of your rotation and a guy in the bullpen, too. Easier said than done, with the free-agent market and everybody is trying to make trades. But that's up to them."
The Mariners are 70-90 going into Saturday's game and 212-272 in Wedge's three years since taking over a team that went 61-101 in 2010. Wedge said upon arrival he was in it for the long haul and understood what it was going to take to turn things around.
Asked if he was the fall guy now for the losing record, Wedge said that' s part of the job of Major League manager.
"That comes with the territory," Wedge said. "But I know what's happened here and that's enough for me. I had a vision coming in here. I came here for certain reasons and I'm leaving here for certain reasons."
• Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT season finale against the A's will be broadcast on 770 AM (KTTH) because of a conflict with Seahawks football on 710 ESPN Seattle. The game will be televised as usual on ROOT Sports.
• The Mariners head into the final two games of the season with 185 home runs, second in the Majors behind the 211 of the Orioles. The A's are third with 184.