Set-up man Joaquin Benoit was unavailable to pitch Sunday’s game because of stiffness in the back of his shoulder and it could keep him out of a few games.

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The Mariners could be without their most established reliever for the next few days, which is not good or a team that seems destined to play in many close, low-scoring games.

Set-up man Joaquin Benoit was unavailable to pitch Sunday’s game because of stiffness in the back of his shoulder and it could keep him out of a few games.

“It’s why we went to (Joel) Peralta in the eighth inning (Sunday) and you were all scratching your head,” manager Scott Servais said.

Benoit’s status going forward is still undetermined. He’s getting treatment with the Mariners’ medical staff under the supervision of head athletic trainer Rick Griffin.

“He’s day to day,” Servais said. “I will have to check again with Rick to see how he’s feeling. Before yesterday’s game, we found out he wasn’t available. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Benoit dealt with a similar issue in spring training. He was slowed in his bullpen sessions and then later during Cactus League play.

“It’s something that I’ve had in the past, not exactly the same way,” he said. “But we are working on it and hopefully it goes away. It’s basically the same stuff and I was trying to pitch through it.

“But I’m trying to be smart and not jeopardize the whole season by trying to be a man.”

Benoit started feeling the discomfort again on Friday.

“I’ve pitched with stuff on my arm and back the whole time,” he said. “It’s not something I really worry about. I’m just going to work on it and get it better.”

The hope is that it will only limit him a couple of days. He is scheduled to play catch Tuesday. It was mentioned to Benoit that he didn’t seem too concerned with the issue and the 38-year-old replied, “I’m too old to be concerned.”

Benoit has made two scoreless one-inning appearances this season. His role of eighth-inning setup man could be filled by Peralta or Tony Zych in the interim.

Furbush begins throwing

After receiving five days’ worth of injections of his own heated and spun blood into his shoulder and a few weeks of recovery from the procedure, left-hander Charlie Furbush played catch on Monday before batting practice. Furbush threw from 75 feet with a decent amount of effort.

“It went good,” he said. “It felt good. It’s good to feel good. I wasn’t really trying to do anything crazy out there.”

Furbush met with Dr. Edward Khalfayan on Friday and they cleared him to begin playing catch on Monday.

There is no set plan for his throwing program. He’s in the preliminary stages where how he feels after a catch session is vital.

“Hopefully, I can keep moving forward and be back soon,” Furbush said.

It’s likely that he will have to go through the entire process of building his arm strength back up, similar to spring training. After that, he would need to see some game action for at least a handful of outings on a rehab stint. It could be at least two months before he’s pitching in the big leagues.

“I guess it’s kind of a reset button,” Furbush said.


• The Mariners will stay on normal rotation even with the off day on Thursday before their three-city trip, starting in New York.

“We’ll keep it the same,” Servais said. “I’m a big believer in just keeping the guys in, and if they pick up an extra day, good for them. It’s a long season and an extra day really isn’t going to hurt.”

While it hasn’t been confirmed, the Yankees would likely start CC Sabathia on Saturday and Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday. A pitching matchup between Iwakuma and Tanaka — close friends and former teammates in Japan — would be big news in their native country.