Mark Ellis suffers strained right quad

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According to Austin Laymance of MLB.com, Mark Ellis suffered a right quad strain in last night’s win over the Brewers. The 35-year-old hurt himself while trying to leg out an infield single in the fifth inning.

Ellis is scheduled to undergo an MRI today to determine the severity, but it sounds like Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is prepared for an extended absence.

“He kind of seemed to be optimistic, but we’ll just have to see,” manager Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers beat the Brewers, 7-5. “Usually guys don’t come out of the game like that and it not be something. I want to be optimistic, but usually you see a guy come out and kind of pull up like that, it’s usually something that’s not going to be a day or two.”

Ellis is off to a hot start this season, hitting .342 (25-for-73) with two home runs, two doubles and 11 RBI in 20 games. Nick Punto replaced Ellis at second base last night, but Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Skip Schumaker are among the other options to fill in.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.