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M. Saunders expected to return Monday

M. Saunders expected to return Monday

SEATTLE -- Michael Saunders went 2-for-5 with a double and triple in his second rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday and is expected to rejoin the Mariners on Monday, barring any setbacks, after he plays center field for the Rainiers on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Saunders is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list as soon as he's ready, but the Mariners wanted him to get at least three rehab starts under his belt before he returns. He played designated hitter his first two games and manager Eric Wedge wants to see one start in center field before he takes over as Seattle's starter at that position.

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"He texted me last night saying, 'I'm ready' with a slammer on it," Wedge said prior to Sunday's series finale with the Angels. "So he's champing at the bit. I told him to play today and then call me. If all goes well today, I'd say we're looking good for tomorrow."

In his first two games at DH, Saunders went 2-for-8 (.250) with two RBIs, one walk and one strikeout. Saunders had a leadoff triple and scored in the first inning on Saturday, then added an RBI double in the ninth in Tacoma's 8-2 victory at Las Vegas.

Saunders went on the disabled list on April 11 after spraining his right shoulder slamming into the right-field fence at Safeco Field. He was hitting .286 in nine games when he got hurt.

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.

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