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Saunders looks good in 'B' game for Rangers

Saunders looks good in 'B' game for Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joe Saunders pitched two scoreless innings in a "B" game against the Royals on Friday, just three days after the Rangers signed him to a contract. Saunders, who has made 221 starts and won 89 games in a nine-year big league career, had been throwing bullpen sessions well before the Rangers signed him on Wednesday and had no trouble in a 33-pitch outing.

"For the first time facing hitters, he looked good," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He didn't look rusty at all. He can pitch."

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Saunders, who was 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA in 32 starts with the Mariners last season, allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two. He may get one more outing in either a "B" or Minor League game before the Rangers use him in a Spring Training game against another Major League team.

"This is why you keep yourself in shape and throw all those bullpen sessions even if you're not in somebody's camp," Saunders said. "Obviously you want to be in camp, but if you're not, you still have to be ready to throw [live batting practice] and two innings when you get here. My arm felt great. It was fun to get back out there and face hitters."

Saunders is in camp competing for a spot in the rotation along with Nick Tepesch, Tommy Hanson, Michael Kirkman and Colby Lewis. Relievers Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers are also being considered, and Washington said the Rangers are also looking at veteran Jose Contreras. He pitched three scoreless innings on Thursday against the Padres, and at age 42, has been one of the more impressive pitchers in camp.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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