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.

White Sox shut down Lucas Giolito for remainder of season

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The Athletic’s James Fegan reports that the White Sox are shutting down starter Lucas Giolito for the remainder of a season. An MRI revealed a mild lat strain, which typically comes with a three- to four-week recovery timetable. The third-place, 65-84 White Sox have nothing left to play for, so it makes sense to play it safe with their prized young hurler.

Giolito, 25, had a breakout season. He went 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA and a 228/57 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings. He made his first All-Star team and will likely earn a few downballot votes for the AL Cy Young Award.

Giolito was scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Twins. Ross Detwiler will start in his place opposite Martín Pérez.