{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Saunders back in lineup, but not in leadoff

|
Saunders back in lineup, but not in leadoff play video for Saunders back in lineup, but not in leadoff

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right fielder Michael Saunders returned to the starting lineup Friday after being limited to a pair of pinch-hit appearances over the previous four games after hyperextending his left knee last Saturday.

"I'm good," Saunders said. "I'm ready to go."

But with rookie center fielder James Jones now entrenched in the leadoff positoin, Saunders was slotted into the No. 2 spot in the order for the first time this season by manager Lloyd McClendon.

Saunders led off 12 times earlier this season and has led off 40 times in his career, while batting second 39 times prior to Friday's series opener with the Twins. There's some benefit to batting behind the speedy Jones, he said, but only to an extent.

"I think the general consensus is you might see more fastballs [hitting second]," Saunders said. "I think it really depends on the pitcher. I believe that how pitchers have been getting you out is how you're going to get pitched. Their main concern is getting the guy out at the plate and however they feel comfortable doing that is how you're going to get pitched.

"Now that being said, a guy like Jones gets on first base and he's a threat to steal, you might see another fastball here or there. But I really feel like they're going to pitch to their strength and your weaknesses."

The guy hitting third, however, also plays into the equation. And Saunders smiled when it was mentioned that Robinson Cano was now directly behind him in the order.

"He might let you see some more fastballs," Saunders said. "They're not going to walk you with him behind you."

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.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español