SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 26: Starting pitcher Joe Saunders #23 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on August 26, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers' starting rotation is a complete crapshoot right now. Here's what we know: Yu Darvish is in it, though he might not start Opening Day, Martin Perez is in it, and Tanner Scheppers is all the sudden in it. After that, there are four guys fighting for two spots.
One of them is veteran Joe Saunders, a very average pitcher who does have one thing going for him, he loves to eat up innings. That alone will probably get him a spot in the rotation, at least to start the season, but he didn't help his case on Sunday.
Saunders gave up nine runs on eight hits and retired just four batters in the Rangers' Cactus League loss to the San Diego Padres and after the game he cited "dead arm," which isn't too surprising for a guy that got a late start to spring training and was only pitching in a game for the third time.
“This is only my third week,” Saunders told The Dallas Morning News. “I feel confident. They know what I can do. The next time out, I think everything should be fine.”
Saunders is set to pitch Friday against Houston in the Alamodome as a final tuneup for the regular season. At this point, given his durability, Saunders is a near-lock for the rotation. But it doesn't help his case for durability if the dead arm thing persists.