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McClendon gives hot-hitting Hart a night off

MIAMI -- It didn't matter that Corey Hart came into Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon's office following Friday night's game saying he felt great.

"I said, 'Good, I want to keep you that way. You're off [Saturday],'" McClendon said. "He really wanted to play, but it just makes sense. I don't want to put the cart in front of the horse with this guy. We've just got to be careful and make sure we continue to build. He's doing fantastic."

Hart, who started as designated hitter in 10 of Seattle's first 14 games, has played the field over the past two for the first time since 2012. He missed all of last season after two microfracture knee surgeries.

Even with the club on a four-game skid, McClendon's mind had been made up as to resting Hart. With a matinee game on Sunday after Saturday's night contest, the quick turnaround would keep Hart out.

The 10-year veteran leads the Mariners with four home runs. Over his last three games, Hart is batting .500 with a double, a homer and two RBIs. He was available to pinch-hit on Saturday.

"I learned a long time ago you can't be afraid to take a guy out of the lineup and maybe lose a game," McClendon said. "Give him the rest because it may help you win six or seven down the road. You can't be that shortsighted, you've got to look at the big picture here. We talked about it before: It's a grind -- a 162-game schedule. We've got to look at the big picture when it comes to Corey Hart."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to
Read More: Seattle Mariners, Corey Hart