Manager Lloyd McClendon met with new general manager Jerry Dipoto for roughly two hours Monday morning before the Seattle Mariners confirmed Dipoto’s hiring.
“It was great,” McClendon said. “He’s a very energetic, intelligent, dynamic, forward-thinking guy. I thought we hit it off pretty good. We had very honest discussions about a lot of things. It went very well.”
If Dipoto feels the same way, that’s good news for McClendon, who is under contract through next season. Club president Kevin Mather previously indicated the new GM would determine McClendon’s fate.
McClendon said, “I’m under contract to manage next year and, hopefully, I’ll manage that club. Beyond that … if you’re looking for security in this game, you’re in the wrong business. That’s me and every other manager.”
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Asked whether he believed he and Dipoto shared a similar philosophy, McClendon said, “I would think so. Obviously, we haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk about everything surrounding this ballclub.
“But, listen, I’d be hard pressed to think his ultimate goal is not the same one that I have — and that’s to win a world championship.”
McClendon all but ruled out lefty James Paxton — “highly unlikely” — as a starter for Wednesday’s series finale against the Houston Astros because of a torn nail on his middle finger suffered in a Sept. 24 start at Kansas City.
That positions right-hander Mayckol Guaipe or lefty David Rollins as the likely starters before other relievers close out the game.
Guaipe has pitched two or more innings in six of his 17 relief appearances; Rollins has done so in four of his 19 outings.
McClendon rated Paxton as “a 50-50 chance” to pitch again before the season ends.
ROMERO STILL OUT
Outfielder Stefen Romero might miss the rest of the season because of a severe bruise on the upper left side of his back, which occurred Sept. 23 when he slammed into the wall in pursuit of a foul fly at Kansas City.
“I hit the wall hard,” he said, “but I got up and threw the ball in. I guess the adrenaline and everything got me through it. The next day, it wasn’t too bad until I tried to swing. Then I really felt it.
“Now, it feels light years better than it was, but I haven’t tried to swing since the next day after it happened. I don’t think I could, though.”
PLANS FOR CANO/CRUZ
Look for Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz to continue playing through the limitations of strained muscles through the series against Houston. After that, McClendon said he will leave it up to them.
“I think the next three days for sure,” McClendon said prior to Monday’s series opener against Houston, “because of the importance of these games (in the postseason chase for several teams).
“Then we’ll see how it goes.”
Cano has nursed a strained abdominal muscle since late July; Cruz suffered a strained right quadriceps muscle on Sept. 2 while running the bases at Houston. He missed six games before returning as a full-time DH.
ANGELS INTERVIEW GWYNN
While the Mariners closed out their search for a new general manager, AL West rival Los Angeles interviewed one of Seattle’s top front-office officials, Chris Gwynn, for its vacant position.
Gwynn, 50, is completing his fourth season as the Mariners’ director of player development — i.e., he oversees the farm system.
Five players from Single-A Everett were cited by Baseball America in its list of the top 20 prospects in the Northwest League.
Outfielder Alex Jackson ranked fourth, followed by shortstop Drew Jackson (fifth), right-handed pitchers Andrew Moore (seventh) and Enyel de los Santos (15th), and left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara (17th).
It was 27 years ago Tuesday — Sept. 29, 1988 — that Mark Langston ran his scoreless streak to 34 1/3 innings before giving up a run in the ninth inning of a 5-1 victory over Texas at the Kingdome.
Langston’s streak remains the club record.
The Mariners have two players with 60-plus extra-base hits for the first time since 2007. Cruz entered Monday with 66, while Kyle Seager had 61. In 2007, Adrian Beltre finished with 69 and Raul Ibanez had 61. … Logan Morrison entered the series with six homers in his past 11 games against the Astros. … Cano entered the game with a 10-game hitting streak.
The Mariners and Astros continue their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field.
Lefty swingman Vidal Nuno (1-4, 4.10 ERA) will, because of personnel shortages, start on shortened rest against Houston right-hander Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.18).
The game can be seen on Root Sports and heard on 710-AM.