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Saunders to rehab in Arizona

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OAKLAND -- Mariners right fielder Michael Saunders reported to the team's training facility in Peoria, Ariz., on Monday to begin working out as he attempts to come back from a viral infection that has sidelined him since Aug. 20.

Saunders, 27, was on a Minor League rehab stint with Tacoma recovering from a strained oblique in his left side when he came down with the illness. The six-year veteran worked out with the Mariners on Friday at Safeco Field and said he'd lost 12 pounds.

"He's going to report to Arizona and try to get his strength back and get some at-bats, some timing," manager Lloyd McClendon said Monday. "We'll see what happens."

Saunders was hitting .276 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 65 games for the Mariners when he went on the 15-day disabled list with the oblique strain on July 11.

Saunders could be added to the Mariners roster at any point in September now that rosters can be expanded, but he'll need to get stronger first before the club makes that move. Since there are no Minor League games still being played in Arizona, Saunders will be limited to simulated games at the team's complex.

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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