3/23/2014 8:21 P.M. ET
McClendon looking for more from Ramirez
By Chris Gabel / Special to MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is looking more and more likely to follow Opening Day starter Felix Hernandez in the Mariners' rotation, with the injuries to All-Star right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (sprained middle finger) and Taijuan Walker (shoulder bursitis). But manager Lloyd McClendon on Sunday halted any labeling of Ramirez as a No. 2 starter.
"Let's not take that number lightly. A No. 2 starter is Iwakuma," said McClendon, who listed pitchers Max Scherzer of the Tigers and Zack Greinke of the Dodgers as top-notch No. 2 starters. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves. He's a nice Major League pitcher and he fits nice on a Major League club. ... Given our situation, [being No. 2] might be the case, but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves and I don't want to put too much pressure on this guy. He's a nice pitcher and he's going to do a nice job at the big league level, but I don't think it's fair to say he's a No. 2."
Wherever Ramirez lines up in the Seattle rotation, he will take with him something close to the 3-0 record and 0.96 ERA he's compiled in five Cactus League outings this spring. But McClendon is looking for more, particularly when the 23-year-old is well ahead in the count.
"He's a strike thrower, probably throws too many strikes. I haven't been very impressed with his 0-2 pitches," McClendon said. "I've told him that. He's got to get better at that. He's got to execute better. I can talk until I'm blue in the face, but he's got to execute the pitch.
"He understands that; he understands the concept. We've talked about it, now you have to execute it."
Ramirez is scheduled to make one more appearance before the regular season.
Wolf has mixed results in latest outing
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Randy Wolf did not fully take advantage of his latest opportunity to solidify a rotation spot. In Sunday's 6-4 Mariners win over the A's, the veteran left-hander couldn't back up the four shutout innings he threw his previous outing.
Wolf, a non-roster invitee, gave up two long home runs and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks -- a quality start -- against the A's.
"He pitched better. He was a little bit more crisp," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "But he still made some questionable pitches that you just can't have when you're trying to win games. He can pitch better."
Wolf got out of a couple jams, but that wasn't what McClendon was looking for in what likely was Wolf's second-to-last audition.
"I'd rather see him not get into trouble," McClendon said. "He's a veteran guy. I know he knows what he's doing out there. So for him, the idea is not to get into trouble."
The 15-year veteran Wolf is competing with Scott Baker, Blake Beavan and Roenis Elias for two rotation spots. Baker really struggled Saturday, when Elias further cemented himself as a contender. Beavan pitches Monday.
"I'm in a situation now where you almost feel like you have to have the best Spring Training of your life," said Wolf, who has a 5.19 career ERA during Spring Training. "But at the same time, I put things in perspective and take a step back and realize my goal is to pitch this season, and I'm getting ready for that."
Hart sidelined with stiffness in right forearm
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners outfielder Corey Hart was held out of the lineup for a third straight day on Sunday, and manager Lloyd McClendon revealed the oft-injured Hart is dealing with stiffness in his right forearm.
It is not a serious issue, McClendon said, but Hart already dealt with a sore back this spring after he missed all of last season with double knee surgeries.
"He's taking a dose [of medication] to alleviate some inflammation and will be back out there Tuesday," McClendon said.
The manager said he wasn't worried about Hart's regular-season availability with Opening Day a week away. Hart has played in just 12 games this spring and has five hits in 35 at-bats.
"His at-bats are fine," McClendon said. "Once he comes back, he'll probably get another 30 in Minor League games."
When he does come back, Hart likely will be limited to designated hitter -- instead of the 145 games in the outfield McClendon said earlier this spring he hoped to get from Hart.
"I'm not so sure how much right field he's going to play, starting off," McClendon said. "The goal is to keep him physically sound. DH is a better option, and probably what we'll lean toward."
Hart had microfracture surgery on his right knee in January 2013 and on his left knee last July. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Mariners during the offseason.
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.