Mar 11, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Joe Saunders (47) throws in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Texas Ranger left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders pitched in a rehab assignment for the Double-A Frisco Rough Riders this past Tuesday. He put in 4 innings of work with 66 pitches, which 44 were strikes. He gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, and one unearned run. He did limit them to one walk,but only struck out four.
After his outing on Tuesday, he told reporters he was ready be back the majors. Also, he told reporters that he wants to be back in the starting rotation and not in a long relief role.
Shortly after that report, Texas Ranger manager Ron Washington commented on Saunders saying.
"“That’s not a decision I’m going to sit here and make,” Washington said. “I think that’s a decision we going to have a group discussion on, and Joe Saunders will be included in that group discussion. So I don’t have no comment on what Joe Saunders has to say.” (MLB.com – Jack Etkin and Teddy Cahill)"
It would seem since then, the Rangers front office has been talking about what to do with Saunders. Today, it was announced that they think Joe Saunders needs some more rehab assignments and he should prepare himself for a role in the bullpen.
Many fans that have been following this closely are probably glad Saunders won’t be back in the rotation. He didn’t pitch well during spring training. He appeared in 4 games/12.2 innings and finished with a sky-high ERA of 11.37. He gave up 4 home runs, 26 hits, 22 runs (16 earned) and walked 5. It was a surprise to many he was named in the Opening day starting rotation.
He didn’t last long in the rotation. The one game he did pitch in he allowed 5 hits, 5 runs (4 earned) and walked 3. His current ERA sits at 9.82, which tied with Tanner Scheppers. Unless the Rangers demote Robbie Ross Jr. back to the bullpen, there isn’t currently a spot in the rotation for Saunders. It looks like the Rangers have basically told Joe, thanks but no thanks, you’re not ready yet and when you are, you are going to the bullpen.