Servais in no rush to name fifth starter

Karns, Paxton competing for final spot in Mariners' rotation

Servais in no rush to name fifth starter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners manager Scott Servais isn't ready to declare a winner or even a favorite to win the team's fifth-starter spot.

And, apparently, he's in no rush to do so.

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Servais was asked Saturday if the team might push the decision on who wins the last spot in the rotation -- between James Paxton and Nathan Karns -- right up to the point when the team has to set its Opening Day roster.

"I think that's the best way to play it. I don't have a problem riding it out all the way to the end," Servais said.

Karns finished his start Friday against the Rangers far better than he started it, as he struck out four of the final five batters he faced. He allowed one run on three hits with three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

So far this spring, Paxton has allowed 11 earned runs in 11 innings. Karns has allowed five earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.

Like Karns, Paxton figures to get at least two more starts before the team breaks camp.

"It's relatively close," Servais said. "Karns' last couple of innings yesterday were intriguing. It's close. I know they feel it, which for me is a good thing. Competition usually brings out the best in people."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.