It’s usually a special occasion for Lloyd McClendon whenever the Mariners play the Tigers, the team he spent seven years with as a coach. He isn’t with the team for this particular series with Detroit, however.
McClendon has traveled back to his native Indiana to attend the funeral of his sister, Angela, and will miss the entire three-game set with Detroit. Bench coach Trent Jewett will act as manager, just as he did for two games in August 2014 when McClendon attended his daughter’s wedding.
“There won’t be any changes. I’ve talked to Mac consistently … We will proceed as if he were here,” Jewett said Monday afternoon. “We’ll certainly miss him and our thoughts are with him. It’s a tough time for him.”
McClendon’s presence will be felt even though he won’t physically be in the dugout.
“He said, ‘I’ll talk to you after the game,’ which I assume means he’ll call in about 15 minutes,” Jewett said. “He cares. I know through the turmoil and through the difficulties, his mind is split into two places.”
Jewett added that the only adjustment made as far as coaching duties is that first base coach Andy Van Slyke will phone the video room to see if a close play should be challenged. That is normally Jewett’s responsibility.
No limitations for Iwakuma
Hisashi Iwakuma, who is making his first start Monday since straining a lat muscle April 20, will not have a special pitch-count limit after three rehab starts in the minors.
“I think he’s gone through the process. He communicates well. Expectations are for him to be good,” Jewett said. “He’s good, he’s polished, and he’s had plenty of reps. He should be fresh, and I expect for him to be real good. … He’s a guy, like most veterans, we’ll communicate with and when he feels good he’ll be given the benefit of the doubt.”
Smith and Rodney still sharing closer role
Jewett said the Mariners will continue to use both Carson Smith and Fernando Rodney as closers for the time being, depending on the situation.
“There’s certain situations that we look for for both. We trust them both and we believe in them both,” he said. “There’s a lot of factors – the score, the matchups, the game situation, the freshness (of each pitcher).”
Rodney has been impressive over his last nine appearances, all but one lasting a full inning, with no runs and no more than one hit or one walk allowed in any outing.
“He’s been good. It’s more typical of what we’re more used to over the last year and a half,” Jewett said of Rodney. “He had his bump in the road and he’s back to what we consider normal for him.”
• Monday’s lineups can be found here. Nothing out of the ordinary for the Mariners, with Austin Jackson leading off, and Brad Miller and Dustin Ackley both starting against Detroit right-hander Alfredo Simon.
• Felix Hernandez joined Nelson Cruz on the American League All-Star team Monday. The full story is at this link.
• Robinson Cano admitted to suffering from a stomach ailment for much of the last year. You can read about that here.