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McClendon unconcerned about lack of lefty starters

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Of the 10 or 11 potential starting-pitching options in Mariners camp, only two -- James Paxton and Randy Wolf -- are left-handed. And neither is anything near a lock at a rotation berth. But that fact doesn't concern new skipper Lloyd McClendon.

McClendon says if the rotation turns out to be five right-handers, that's no problem at all, as long as they're the five best pitchers in the bunch.

"Just to have a lefty to have a lefty, that's no good," McClendon said Saturday on the third day of the pitchers and catchers' portion of camp. "Ideally you'd like to have one and possibly two. But they have to be good. They've got to be able to get guys out.

"On a scale of 1-to-10, it's probably a one if they can't get anybody out. If they get 'em out, then it's a 10," he said with a laugh.

McClendon is just sorting through the 36 pitchers in camp. A day after he listed eight or nine potential starting candidates, he acknowledged that he left young right-hander Brandon Maurer out of the previous list.

"I threw names out there and it's probably unfair of me because I don't have that roster set yet," he said. "But he's certainly in the mix. This guy has tremendous stuff and power type of stuff. He's a swing guy, but I'd probably view him more as a starter."

Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are the only certain starters, with fellow right-handers Taijuan Walker, Scott Baker, Matt Palmer, Erasmo Ramirez, Blake Beavan and Maurer in the hunt, along with Paxton and Wolf from the left side.

Paxton was outstanding in four September starts last season, but that is his only Major League experience. Wolf, 37, is a 14-year Major League veteran and was a 2003 All-Star with the Phillies, but he's coming off Tommy John surgery and didn't pitch at all in '13.

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.

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