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J. Saunders gets called to the plate in a pinch

J. Saunders gets called to the plate in a pinch

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J. Saunders gets called to the plate in a pinch

SEATTLE -- Veteran left-hander Joe Saunders took a look at the Mariners' lineup card posted on the clubhouse wall Sunday and expressed mock indignation.

"I'm not in there today?" he said with a laugh, having gotten the call as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Cubs when the Mariners ran out of position players and had to forfeit their designated hitter position due to a run of circumstances.

Saunders, now a .135 career hitter, was the best-hitting pitcher available in manager Eric Wedge's mind, and was thus sent to the plate with two outs in the 11th. He flew out to left-center, while becoming the first Mariners pitcher to get an at-bat in a non-National League city since Mike Schooler hit in the 13th inning at Boston on Aug. 11, 1990.

The only other Mariners pitchers to play under American League rules were Mike Moore at Oakland on April 24, 1987, and Brian Holman at Oakland on April 20, 1990. The four pitchers are now a combined 0-for-4.

Saunders had gone 0-for-2 in an Interleague game at San Diego earlier this season, and the pitchers actually took batting practice on Friday in preparation for next week's Interleague series in Cincinnati.

"I was fine," Saunders said. "But 92-mph is a little different than BP."

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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