McClendon to go with bullpen start for finale vs. Jays

McClendon to go with bullpen start for finale vs. Jays

TORONTO -- The Mariners still haven't announced a starter for the final game of their series vs. the Blue Jays on Thursday, but manager Lloyd McClendon said after Tuesday's 10-2 loss that it'll be a bullpen-by-committee effort.

McClendon told veteran right-hander Chris Young on Monday that he wouldn't be making his last scheduled start after giving up seven runs and eight hits -- including four home runs -- in three-plus innings in his last outing in Houston.

"I'm going to use my bullpen the best way I see fit," McClendon said. "We'll mix and match and see where we go. I haven't decided who is going to start yet, but we'll see."

With top prospect Taijuan Walker already moved into the rotation in place of the injured Roenis Elias, the Mariners don't have a ton of options. The likely candidates seem to be either Erasmo Ramirez or Tom Wilhelmsen, both of whom are currently pitching out of the bullpen.

But Ramirez threw two innings in Tuesday's loss, so that likely rules him out. Wilhelmsen has been a reliever for all four of his seasons with Seattle, but has shifted more to a long role this season and made one spot start right before the All-Star break. The right-hander has been very effective this year, with a 2.10 ERA and just 44 hits allowed in 77 innings, as opponents have hit .166 against him.

The Mariners currently have 11 pitchers in the bullpen, and Young also will be available in relief starting Thursday, so McClendon has a number of options to patch together nine innings.

The Blue Jays also are juggling their rotation Thursday, going with their own bullpen day to replace suspended starter Marcus Stroman. Manager John Gibbons announced Tuesday that he'll go with rookie Daniel Norris, a 21-year-old lefty who started in Triple-A but has seen only 3 1/3 innings of work out of the bullpen in four appearances as a September callup.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.