By John Boyle
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said after Tuesday’s loss that saw Fernando Rodney blow a save that he hopes to have his closer back on the mound today, and this morning he again said he’s not worried about Rodney.
“When you have a good closer, you don’t worry about how they respond, that’s why they’re good closers—they’ve got short memories,” he said. “The reason I say I hope he’s back out there is that means we’re winning the game in the ninth inning. Listen, it happens, but when it happens to you, you take it personally. But (shoot), it happens all over baseball. Nobody has a perfect season, no closer has a perfect season. This guy’s good, he’s closing for a reason, so we move on. When I looked today, the sun came up, and I said, ‘I’ll be damned. The sky’s not falling, we get to play again.’”
When it was pointed out to McClendon that the sun doesn’t always make an appearance around these parts, he laughed and said, “If it’d been raining, I would have said, ‘Oh, (shoot).’”
And he might not have actually said shoot.
On James Paxton, who is still working his way back from a lat strain and who threw a bullpen session Wednesday, McClendon said, “I don’t have an exact schedule. I can tell you he’s close. If all goes well and he continues to progress the way he’s progressing, then yeah, he’s close, but I couldn’t tell you when.”
On shortstop Brad Miller, whose average has dropped down to .156, McClendon said, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. He’s struggling right now, we’re trying to get him out of it. I’ve said it a few times this season, you either play him or you bench him; we’re trying to play him and see if he can come out of it. I don’t have any answers, I’m being as honest as I can. I don’t have that answer, I don’t know.
McClendon has spent some time with Miller, “Just knowledge of the strike zone. My point is, hitting is hard enough. The real good hitters make seven outs out of 10 times. So to try to get hits on balls outside of the strike zone is going to make it even more difficult. So just trying to get a better recognition of the strike zone and where he ought to be looking. Right now everybody’s got suggestions, everybody wants to help, but in the end, he’s got to clear his mind, get his focus and do what he does best, and right now that’s a struggle for him.”