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May 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Saturday’s pregame notes, line-ups vs. the Astros — McClendon talks about Almonte, again

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Note: For some reason, I forgot to post the postgame blog from last night. I typed it all out, and thought I hit publish, but didn’t. I’m an idiot. I posted it for people to check out.

Here’s the line-ups.

Abraham Almonte is not in there, which makes many people happy.

We asked McClendon about it again because that’s what we do – daily.

How is he approaching playing time with Almonte because it’s really not working right now?

“That’s why he’s sitting because it’s not working,” McClendon said. “It’s that simple. I don’t try to sugarcoat anything. He’s not playing because he’s not producing. He’s not playing up to his capabilities.”

McClendon was hoping to try and find optimal situations to get Almonte playing time to get him confidence and get him going – like last night. But that didn’t work. How does he balance sitting a player because he isn’t producing and playing a player to help him get back to producing (or something like that)?

“I said it earlier, there’s one of two way you can do it – you can play them or bench them,” McClendon said.

How is Almonte handling the struggles?

“Listen, it’s not easy at this level for any  young kid,” he said. “I’ve been there and I know it can get tough, particularly when you aren’t producing the way you are capable of producing. I’m sure he’s not feeling good about things right now.”

At what point does he look at Almonte and decide he needs to go to Class AAA and play every day to get back on track instead of trying to figure it out at the MLB level in reduced playing time?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what that point is. When I know, you guys will know.”

You aren’t close to that point yet?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t say that. I just don’t know.”

Does it help him sitting Almonte with how Saunders is playing?

“Michael is playing OK,” he said. “Listen, it’s not great, but it’s OK.”

Obviously, McClendon is growing weary about answering questions about Almonte daily. We are growing just weary of asking them. But there is a reason that it got to this point. The impetus isn’t fan complaints. It’s that Almonte is at a point beyond struggling and it isn’t getting better. And Almonte has done nothing to help limit those questions. When you watch Almonte work out and go about his business, you can see the talent and the potential and why McClendon wants it to work and believes it could. But the results are just so beyond poor that it is a detriment to the team. It’s also one thing to not hit and strikeout, but two errors in the field push it over the top.

Other notes 

As expected, the Mariners optioned Lucas Luetge back to Tacoma to make room for Iwakuma on the 25-man roster. Iwakuma’s pitch limit will be right around 100 pitches.

Danny Farquhar won’t be available today after throwing two innings yesterday. So if Medina comes in to the game in a set-up situation that’s the reason why. Everyone else in the bullpen is available.

McClendon hasn’t decided if Felix Hernandez will start the day game or night cap of the double header in Oakland on Wednesday.

Here are the listed probables – that are subject to change.

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OFFICIAL GAME NOTES: 

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