Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #27 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on September 4, 2013 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

SAFECO FIELD - The Seattle Mariners still have not made a decision as to who will start Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, but the likely candidates are either Taijuan Walker or Blake Beavan.

Walker is still working back from a right shoulder impingement suffered in spring training while Beavan has started the season at Triple-A Tacoma.

Walker has a brighter future and is expected to be a focal point of the Mariners' rotation for a long time, but McClendon won't rush him back into the lineup.

"We want to be cautious with Taijuan," McClendon said. "We have to makes sure he’s ready to compete at this level. The game is a little bit more stressful at this level than it is the minor league level. The number of pitches that you throw. The outs that you get are going to be harder. You have to take all of that into account when we decide if we are going to bring him or somebody else."

Ultimately, McClendon wants Walker to be 100 percent and ready to go without limitation when he's added back to the roster.

"We have to make sure that if he’s the guy we are going to bring, he’s gotta be ready to compete at this level and there are no bars or limitations," McClendon said.

McClendon said the decision will likely be made within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to throw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. McClendon said Iwakuma is still a couple bullpen sessions away from being able to face live hitters. That step would happen prior to Iwakuma being sent for a rehab assignment.

James Paxton received a shot to help aid healing of his strained lat muscle. McClendon said he would receive treatment and be re-evaluated in 7-8 days. A rehab plan would then be implemented at that point.


Oakland Athletics

CF Sam Fuld
SS Jed Lowrie
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Brandon Moss
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Alberto Callaspo
C Derek Norris
1B Daric Barton
2B Eric Sogard

RHP Tommy Milone (first start of season)

Seattle Mariners

CF Abraham Almonte
SS Brad Miller
2B Robinson Cano
1B Justin Smoak
DH Corey Hart
3B Kyle Seager
RF Stefen Romero
LF Dustin Ackley
C Mike Zunino

RHP Felix Hernandez (2-0, 1.88 ERA)