Saunders put on waivers, hopes to stay
PHOENIX – By noon Thursday, left-hander Joe Saunders should know his status for the rest of the season.
The 48-hour waiver period on Saunders ends then, and depending on other teams’ interest he could be traded, moved via claim or pulled back to remain with the Diamondbacks through the end of the year. There is no doubt what Saunders wants.
“I’d like to stay here,” Saunders said between games of the D-backs’ split doubleheader against Miami on Wednesday.
“Who knows what is going to happen?”
Asking waivers on a player is standard industry practice at this point in the season, but Saunders’ case is a little different, paralleling almost exactly the situation surrounding Stephen Drew before his trade to Oakland on Monday.
Because Saunders is likely to be out of the D-backs’ price range when his $6 million contract expires after this season, the D-backs could be looking for a way to get a return rather than see Saunders simply leave via free agency.
If Saunders is claimed by another team, the D-backs have several choices. They could complete a trade with the claiming team, as they did when Oakland claimed Drew late last week. There is a 48-hour window for a deal to be made. The D-backs also could pull Saunders back from waivers or simply let Saunders to go the claiming team with no deal, saving themselves the remainder due on Saunders' contract. If the D-backs pull Saunders back, he cannot be placed on waivers again this season.
“You find yourself in a position like everybody else. You just go out and do your job on a daily basis. You can’t control it,” said Saunders, who rejoined the D-backs late last winter.
“It looked bleak for me coming back last year. I’d like to come back. It’s up to K.T. (Kevin Towers) and ownership.”
Saunders is 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts this season, although he has pitched better than that. The D-backs have failed to hold four leads behind him, and his ERA skewed Monday when he gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Tyler Skaggs, a top candidate for the 2013 starting rotation, gave every indication he is ready to step up now in a 3-2 victory in his major league debut in the first game Wednesday.
UPTON GIVEN TIME TO HEAL
Right fielder Justin Upton was held out of the starting lineup in both games of the split doubleheader Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game in the first inning with tightness in his left hamstring. An MRI given early Wednesday showed no abnormalities, Upton said.
“I feel a lot better than last night. I got some treatment last night and worked on some things. I don't want to be out of this lineup, especially at this time,” Upton said.
Taking no chances, however, the D-backs recalled outfielder A.J. Pollock from Class Triple-A Reno to fortify themselves in case the training staff believes Upton would be best served with two more days of rest. (The D-backs are off Thursday.)
The D-backs created a little bit of intrigue with the move by designating Pollock, not Skaggs, as the “26th man” for the doubleheader. That means Pollock must be returned to the minor leagues following Wednesday’s games, although he could remain if Upton is forced onto the disabled list.
The D-backs, who had 13 pitchers for the doubleheader, are likely to trim a pitcher on Friday, when shortstop Willie Bloomquist is expected to return from the disabled list.