ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Michael Saunders took a day off from batting practice on Sunday to rest his recuperating right shoulder, but said he continues to feel improvement as he works toward returning from the disabled list later this month.
Saunders sprained the shoulder when he crashed into the Safeco Field wall on April 10. He's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday, but that's probably a difficult goal given he's yet to begin throwing and only has taken swings the past two days while accompanying the team on its road trip to Texas.
Saunders kept both hands on the bat while swinging on Friday on Saturday in order to lessen the strain, but said things went fine.
"I've been doing a lot of work the last little while here, so today I'm getting a rest day just to recuperate and I'll get back at it tomorrow," Saunders said Sunday. "There's still some inflammation in there, so we're waiting for that to die down. But it's encouraging that I'm able to swing so soon after it happened."
The biggest test likely will be throwing, which he hasn't tried yet.
"That'll be the last thing to come," Saunders said. "Hopefully we can get the swinging down to a point where it's not a problem anymore. And if throwing is a bit of an issue, hopefully I can still get out there and hit my [cutoff man] and that kind of deal.
"I want everything to be good, obviously, but I'm more concentrated right now on making sure my swing is feeling good. I think throwing will come, but it's one of those things where we'll just have to wait and see."
The club has gone 3-6 since Saunders' injury, and he's itching to be able to help.
"Obviously I want to be back as soon as possible," Saunders said. "But I have to listen to my shoulder and make sure it's ready to go. It's a long year. That being said, I'm working hard to get back as soon as I can."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.