Twins monitoring free agent left-hander Joe Saunders

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Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that the Twins are monitoring the situation of free agent left-hander Joe Saunders and could be interested in signing him if he is willing to take “a minimal deal.”

Saunders made $6.5 million with the Mariners last season, but he struggled to find much interest over the winter after putting up a 5.26 ERA and 107/61 K/BB ratio over 183 innings. The 32-year-old had a tryout last week with the Rangers, who are also on the lookout for rotation depth.

As of now, the Twins project to go with Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, and Mike Pelfrey for the first four spots in their starting rotation. Sam Deduno, Scott Diamond, and Vance Worley, who are all out of options, will compete for the final spot this spring.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”