Seattle Mariners pitcher Charlie Furbush remembers growing up in South Portland and having older athletes come to speak to his teams.

“I looked up to them back then, and now (children are) looking up to me. That’s pretty cool,” he said. “I feel it’s important to reach out to kids and be a good role model.”

Furbush, now in his fifth major-league season, is the Mariners’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. The honor is given annually to the major leaguer who best represents the sport through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Past winners include David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield and Derek Jeter.

“It’s an incredible, great honor,” Furbush said in a phone interview earlier this week. All 30 MLB teams nominate one player for the award; the winner will be announced during the World Series.

While the Mariners have a number of players involved in the community, Sean Grindley, manager of community programs for the team, said Furbush’s commitment stands out.

“Charlie is really a 12-months-of-the-year man,” said Grindley. “Charlie speaks in front of groups, visits children in hospitals, serves as a chairman for our cystic fibrosis golf tournament and takes part in our multistate caravan.”

The Mariners Care Golf Tournament is in its 30th year. Furbush has hosted it the past two springs, helping to raise more than $410,000 for cystic fibrosis research.

“It’s a true joy,” said Furbush, 29. “I love putting smiles on the kids’ faces. The money raised can help extend their lives. That’s remarkable and really cool.”

Furbush, it turns out, is the second South Portland High grad to have hosted the Mariners’ charity golf tournament.

“From 1988 to 1990, Bill Swift was a tournament host,” Grindley said. Swift pitched for the Mariners in six of his 13 major-league seasons.

Furbush also been an active supporter of the team’s annual Toys for Kids program, which provides holiday gifts for children in hospitals and homeless shelters. He has visited hospitals in Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane.

“I got involved the first year I was with the Mariners,” said Furbush, who lives now in the Pacific Northwest and returns to South Portland for Christmas.

Furbush also has participated in the Mariners Caravan each January since 2013, speaking at schools, community centers and Boys and Girls Clubs in four states and British Columbia.

On the field, it’s been a frustrating season for Furbush. The lefthanded reliever has missed the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. He last pitched on July 7 against his former team, the Detroit Tigers, when he worked one inning and picked up his lone win of the season. It was later discovered that he had a slight tear in his rotator cuff. He was put on the 60-day disabled list on Sept. 8.

In 21 2/3 innings this season, Furbush was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 17 and held batters to a .122 average.

Furbush avoided arbitration last winter by signing a one-year deal for a reported $1.3 million. He is not eligible for free agency until 2018.

This has been his longest stint on the DL, but he’s confident of being ready for next season.

“It feels pretty good,” said Furbush about the shoulder. “I’m continuing to rehab it and my goal is to be ready by spring training,” he said.