Mariners showing interest in reunion with Joe Saunders

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According to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Mariners are showing interest in a reunion with veteran left-hander Joe Saunders.

Don’t freak out too much, Mariners fans. They are only looking at Saunders “as a bullpen possibility if he is willing to accept a minor-league contract.”

Saunders previously pitched for the Seattle in 2013 and posted an ugly 5.26 ERA and 107/61 K/BB ratio across 183 innings. We didn’t hear much from him last year, as he spent a large chunk of time in the minors and had a 6.70 ERA across eight starts and six relief appearances between the Orioles and Rangers. The Mariners hope to carry a second left-hander in their bullpen behind Charlie Furbush, so Saunders would be another name to throw in the mix.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.