McClendon holding off naming No. 5 starter

Walker appears to have edge on Elias for spot in Mariners' rotation

McClendon holding off naming No. 5 starter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taijuan Walker is scheduled to start again on Monday against the Angels at Peoria Stadium, while Roenis Elias likely is slated for a Minor League outing in his next appearance. But manager Lloyd McClendon still wasn't ready to pronounce Walker as his fifth starter on Friday.

The 22-year-old Walker had yet to allow a run in 18 innings in five Cactus League starts before facing the Royals, while Elias has a 6.75 ERA in 14 2/3 innings after getting hit hard by the Brewers on Thursday. But McClendon has maintained he won't proclaim who has won the battle for the final berth in Seattle's rotation until the final week of camp.

Reminded there would be exactly one week left as of Saturday, McClendon just smiled.

"Tomorrow I'll be close then," he said. "You guys will be the last to know. I'm close."

Elias fans Rollins to open 1st

The Mariners have announced their pitching probables over the next five days in what appears to be their likely starting rotation: James Paxton was throwing Friday night's game against the Royals, Hisashi Iwakuma will start on Saturday against the Giants in Peoria, J.A. Happ faces the Padres on Sunday, Walker goes against the Angels on Monday and No. 1 starter Felix Hernandez makes his final spring start on Tuesday against the Indians in Goodyear.

• Shortstop Brad Miller was held out of Friday night's game against the Royals after falling ill on Thursday. McClendon said there's been a stomach virus going through the clubhouse in recent days and Miller still wasn't feeling well on Friday.

• Second baseman Robinson Cano also got the day off on Friday, but McClendon said that was just to get the six-time All-Star off his feet after playing three days in a row.

• After relievers Tom Wilhelmsen, Mark Lowe and Joe Saunders all got hit hard in Thursday's 15-1 loss to the Brewers, McClendon acknowledged he's not thrilled with how his bullpen has performed coming down the stretch. He's previously indicated unhappiness with Yoervis Medina and the skipper said Danny Farquhar never pitches well in spring.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned," McClendon said. "We just haven't pitched very well. The results at times have been OK, but they haven't pitched to their capabilities. We had 10 arms for seven positions, now if the math is right, we have nine for seven positions. There are going to be tough decisions. Somebody's heart may be broken, but that's just the way it goes."

The club also is without Rule 5 lefty David Rollins, who was suspended on Friday by Major League Baseball for a failed PED test.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.