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Mariners sign Saunders, designate Carp

SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the club has signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Joe Saunders to a one-year contract for the 2013 season and a mutual option for 2014. Per club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

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To make room on the 40-man roster, first baseman/designated hitter Mike Carp has been designated for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Carp to the minor leagues.

Saunders, 31, combined to go 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA in 28 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks (21 GS) and Baltimore Orioles (7 GS). He made two postseason starts for the Orioles, going 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA (2 ER, 11.1 IP). He was the starting and winning pitcher in the Orioles one-game wild card playoff win at Texas (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO).

In eight Major League seasons with the Angels (2005-2010), Diamondbacks (2010-2012) and Orioles (2012), the left-hander is 78-65 with a 4.15 ERA in 189 career starts. Since 2008 Saunders has been one of the more dependent left-handed starting pitchers in all of baseball, ranking 6th in games started (156), 6th in wins (63) and 7th in innings pitched (974.0). Over the last five seasons he has averaged 13 wins, 31 starts and 195.0 innings per season (63-57, 156 GS, 974.0 IP).

No stranger to pitching in the Northwest due to his time with the Angels, Saunders owns a 6-0 career record with a 2.13 ERA (13 ER, 55.0 IP) in 9 starts at Safeco Field. Over his last 8 Safeco Field starts (since 2008) he is 6-0, 1.19 ERA (7 ER, 53.0 IP).

The Springfield, Virginia native was originally selected by the Angels in the first round (12th overall) of the 2002 June draft out of Virginia Tech University.

Saunders will wear jersey #23 when the Mariners take the field for the first spring training workout tomorrow in Peoria.

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