Surprise: Michael Saunders may actually play by Opening Day

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Some bad news for the Blue Jays yesterday involving Marcus Stroman is now leavened by at least a little bit of good news involving Michael Saunders:

Saunders was initially expected to miss all of the first half of the regular season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee. Then his prognosis was upgraded to missing 5-6 weeks which would’ve kept him out of most of spring training and delayed the start of his season. If Morosi is right, that timeline is upgraded even more.

Saunders was acquired from Seattle back in December for J.A. Happ. He has battled injury at times, but he has a 111 OPS+ since the beginning of the 2012 season and won’t be a free agent for another two years. The Jays are counting on him to be a key part of their outfield. And now, instead of a half season of his work, they appear to be getting a full year.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.