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Saunders Outpitches Expectations in Return

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Joe Saunders a very average major-league starting pitcher, well suited for a role as a No. 5 starter on a good team, and not much more.

    So when you couple that fact with the fact he was returning from the disabled list, where he'd been since April 4, Wednesday's start against an albeit light-hitting Twins team was pretty promising.

    Saunders wasn't perfect — he left the bags full in the second and struggled in the third, as well — but his final stat line was flawless, as he tossed five shutout innings in a game the Rangers eventually won 1-0. Saunders has lobbied to be in the Rangers' rotation dating back to spring training, and he might have made a pretty decent case for himself with his outing Wednesday.

    He allowed five hits over the five innings and also struck out six, as his velocity hit 95 mph a few times and he moved the ball around the zone well.

    Again, it wasn't perfect, but for a guy like Saunders, it was plenty, plenty good, and it kept the Rangers alive so they could eventually score another shutout win. If nothing else, Saunders earned himself another start, which should come Tuesday at home against one of his former teams, the Baltimore Orioles.