"Will it upset your apple cart [when Saunders comes back]?" McClendon wondered. "I don't know. I don't have that answer."
McClendon said Saunders' rehab assignment essentially got a restart when he left for paternity leave. He has 11 plate appearances in two games since getting back. That's not enough, according to McClendon. He'd like to see about 20 at-bats from Saunders.
"Most hitters, they think they can go down and get three games' worth of at-bats and say, 'I'm ready to play,'" McClendon said. "I don't know anybody that can be ready in three games."
McClendon isn't interested in seeing Saunders come back before he's ready and then struggle to get his timing down against big league pitching.
"Don't waste games here," McClendon said. "It's too important. We've got to win them here. We ain't here to get timing down. We're here to win."
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.