Joe Saunders pleased with rehab start

Jul 9, 2012, 2:06 PM | Updated: 11:31 pm

After the Arizona Diamondbacks had polished off the Los
Angeles Dodgers for the third time in four games Sunday,
the eyes of the organization turned to Salt River Fields
in Scottsdale.

That’s where left-hander Joe Saunders was making a
rehabilitation start for the Diamondbacks Arizona League
rookie level team against Cleveland.

Saunders pitched decently, going 4.1 innings while
allowing three hits, five runs (three earned) while
walking five and striking out seven. The D-backs fell
8-5 and Saunders was saddled with the loss, but winning
was not the ultimate objective.

“I felt good, it was nice to get back out there,” Saunders
said after his 78-pitch outing. “It was frustrating to
get more walks than I wanted to, but it’s tough down here
— you don’t know the hitters and they like to swing the
bat.

“I thought I did pretty good though.”

Saunders was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a
strained left shoulder after he was unable to get loose
for a scheduled start on June 22 against the Cubs. He
threw a 51-pitch simulated game at Chase Field last week
and declared himself ready to return at that point, but
agreed to make a minor league rehab start to further fine
tune things.

“Next step is going to be Wrigley Field,” Saunders said.
“I was looking forward to that, and they wanted me to get
one more start down here, so I did it, now let’s get it
going.”

The Diamondbacks pick up their post All-Star break
schedule Friday in Chicago for a three-game series against
the Cubs. Barring a setback, Saunders should start the
second game of the series Saturday against Chicago right-
hander Ryan Dempster.

Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this
report

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