Jewett steps in while McClendon is away

Jewett steps in while McClendon is away

SEATTLE -- Lloyd McClendon missed just his third game in two years as the Mariners' manager on Monday as he was away to attend funeral services in Indiana for his sister, Angela Price, who died Wednesday from health complications.

Bench coach Trent Jewett will assume managerial duties for the Mariners' three-game series against the Tigers, his first time doing so since last August, when McClendon missed two games against the Nationals to attend his daughter's wedding.

Jewett said before Monday's 12-5 loss in the series opener that McClendon told him he would be in touch after the game. But knowing McClendon as he does, Jewett said he knows better.

"He said, 'I'll talk to you after the game,' which I assume means he'll call in about 15 minutes," Jewett said with a laugh. "It's because he cares. I know he cares."

The Mariners' second-year bench coach spent the 2011-13 seasons as a coach with the Nationals. He has also spent 17 seasons as a Minor League manager, including 12 seasons as a Triple-A manager, most recently with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs, in 2010.

In McClendon's absence, Jewett said things will operate like normal, with just a few minor adjustments. He said outfield coach Andy Van Slyke will handle the phone in replay-related situations in order to prevent in-game delays.

"I've talked to Mac consistently and just talked to him as he landed [in Indiana] and we'll proceed as if he were here," Jewett said. "Our thoughts are with him."

Even with his semi-regular communication with McClendon over the next three days, Jewett said he'll miss his manager's presence.

"I'm sure sometimes it doesn't look like it, but the in-game competition is something you look forward to every night," Jewett said. "Within that, it's not only entertaining and fun but it's what drives you and I'll miss having [McClendon] alongside."

Worth noting

• If presented with a save situation over the next three days, Jewett echoed McClendon in saying he does not have a set closer but will decide on whoever is "optimal" between relievers Fernando Rodney and Carson Smith.

"It's not something that's pre-planned, but as the game unfolds, we trust them both and we believe in them both," Jewett said.

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.