Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders was initially expected to miss all of the first half of the regular season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee on Wednesday. However, Saunders underwent surgery to remove the meniscus on Friday and the timeline has been altered to five to six weeks, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports.
Why the change? The tear was so severe that it could not be repaired, only removed. The initial plan was to fix the meniscus and that comes with a longer period of recovery, but once Saunders was on the operating table and the damage was assessed, “it wasn’t even an option,” according to GM Alex Anthopoulos.
The Blue Jays acquired Saunders from the Mariners in December in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ. The Jays are reportedly interested in free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, but their need for outfield depth isn’t as great now that Saunders should return in the latter half of April as opposed to July.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.