Toronto stopped counting on Michael Saunders a while ago, but now the Blue Jays have officially shut down the injured outfielder for the remainder of the season.
Saunders was acquired from the Mariners for left-hander J.A. Happ in December and the Blue Jays expected him to be a regular, but he ended up playing just nine games due to a knee injury suffered during spring training.
Toronto isn’t exactly hurting for offensive help, but Saunders’ left-handed bat (and .743 OPS from 2012-2014) would have complemented an otherwise right-handed-heavy lineup.
Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders returned to the disabled list this week due to renewed discomfort in his surgically-repaired left knee and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Saunders, who was acquired from the Mariners over the winter, injured his knee in a freak accident in late February when he stepped on a sprinkler head at Toronto’s spring training facility. Surgery was originally expected to leave him on the shelf until around the All-Star break, but the timetable was moved up after he had 60 percent of his meniscus removed. The 28-year-old made his season debut on April 25, but batted just .194 (6-for-31) with a .499 OPS over nine games before landing on the DL this week.
The hope is that rest will do Saunders some good, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos admitted that he might not be 100 percent until the offseason. Bad news for someone who looked like a quality pickup for Toronto.
Dalton Pompey was demoted to Triple-A after a slow start and Jose Bautista has been limited to designated hitter duties due to a shoulder injury, so the Blue Jays are currently relying on a combination of Kevin Pillar, Chris Colabello, Ezequiel Carrera, and Danny Valencia in their outfield.
From the official Twitter account of the Toronto Blue Jays …
Saunders tore the meniscus in his left knee in late February when he stepped on a sprinkler head while shagging fly balls at the Blue Jays’ spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida. Initial reports suggested he would be out until the All-Star break, but the 28-year-old outfielder made it back before the end of April. And maybe that’s the problem — that he rushed his rehab. Saunders needed fluid drained from the surgically-repaired knee early last week and then got a cortisone injection a few days later. Now the Jays have decided that he’s better off getting some extended rest. It’s not clear when he might be ready to return.
Saunders looked like a sneaky-good acquisition for Toronto this offseason. He had a strong .791 OPS (128 OPS+) in 2014 for the Mariners and flirted with a 20-homer, 20-steal season with Seattle in 2012. Chris Colabello is starting in left field for the Blue Jays in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Red Sox.