ARLINGTON -- Charlie Furbush, like many of his teammates, is building for the future.While the majority of Furbush's four-plus-innings, seven-run outing in Monday's 9-2 loss against Texas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was forgettable, there were learning experiences aplenty. "I thought Furbush battled," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was facing a very good offensive club here and he didn't quite have the command that he had last game, but he kept us in it." While the stat line does not suggest it, Furbush did keep Seattle within striking distance through four innings, with the Mariners only trailing, 4-2. If a potential double-play ball in the fourth had been converted or a second-inning two-base error had been avoided, Furbush could have conceivably been looking at a tie ballgame after four innings. At the same time though, part of the reason he did not was his own doing. His second-inning, 1-1 pitch to Nelson Cruz was belt high and down the middle, and Cruz responded by muscling it out of the park for a solo home run. Furbush, who was aided by two Texas baserunners getting thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles, lacked control in going after the Rangers' vaunted lineup. "Clearly, I didn't [have the same control as my last start]," Furbush said. "I didn't get ahead as much as I wanted to and I wasn't making quality pitches throughout the whole game, so that's something I need to work on going into next time." In the fifth, he walked two batters and fell behind, 3-1, on a third before giving up a base hit. Wedge decided that was enough for Furbush. Reliever Jamey Wright was brought into the game with the bases loaded and no outs, admittedly a tough scenario for any pitcher. He allowed all three inherited runners to score on two bases-loaded singles and a walk. "A couple of walks and a base hit and we couldn't take [Furbush] any further than that," Wedge said. "And Jamey was off today. Jamey Wright is a veteran guy, and you like in those situations to lead with your veteran guys, but he just didn't have his good stuff today." Wedge still saw a positive in the fact that Furbush was able to last long enough to start easing up toward the 85-pitch maximum that had been set for Furbush by the Mariners -- he threw 84 pitches Monday. "We're still getting him built up, so I feel good about getting him to mid-80s with his pitch count," Wedge said. "What we saw the first time, he was pitching with no fear. Going out there, trusting his stuff and working to get them out in the zone, we saw some of that, but we saw him get away from it a little bit, too." Both Wedge and opposing starter Matt Harrison said the Texas heat, which opened at 104 degrees at game time, was an additional factor that Furbush had to account for. "Anybody who comes in here is going to struggle with the heat," Harrison said. "It takes a couple of days to get used to it and we're here year after year and we know how to deal with it." While Wedge was encouraged by Furbush's outing, the southpaw himself was disappointed by the result. "I'm not really about the transition from back to forth, it's something I've done my whole career," Furbush said. "It's just something I've got to keep working at." With the score 7-2 after five innings and the Mariners struggling against Harrison, Wedge decided it was time to bring on another rookie, Tom Wilhelmsen, so he could get more experience pitching on the Major League level. Wilhelmsen, who hadn't pitched in a big league game since May 7, allowed two runs in his first inning before calming down and holding the Rangers scoreless in his final two innings of work. "Wilhelmsen hasn't been out there in a while, but it was a good opportunity to get him in there," Wedge said. "I figured he might be a little bit erratic early on, which he was. He was able to get through that first inning, which was big, because for him to get something out of today, we had to be able to send him back out there." Wedge said that in Wilhelmsen's first inning he threw too many breaking balls instead of leading with his fastball. "It's been a while since I've seen a batter. I'm feeling good, it's warm and my 'pen went real well so I went out there and tried to throw as hard as I could," Wilhelmsen said. "I can't pitch perfect, and obviously it didn't happen, but I was able to take a deep breath, relax and remember all the things I've learned."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.