ARLINGTON -- Joe Saunders, who is on the disabled list with a left foot injury, is going to continue to pitch on a medical rehabilitation assignment. He has also been told that when he does return, it could be as a reliever if he is willing to accept that role.
That's the message sent by general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington after meeting with Saunders on Thursday. The Rangers rotation is set with Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, Robbie Ross Jr., Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis.
Ross has struggled in his last four starts but the Rangers have no inclination to take him out of the rotation at this point. Saunders has been a starter his entire career, making 222 starts without one appearance as a reliever. But that may have to change if he wants to stay with the Rangers.
"The spot right now we have is in the bullpen," Daniels said. "He sees himself as a starter but that's the spot we have open."
Daniels suggested the Rangers might accommodate Saunders if he wants to find a job elsewhere as a starter.
"We're always open to that if he has an opportunity to start," Daniels said. "I think it's fair to give him time to digest it."
Saunders is expected to make his next start this weekend. He started for Double-A Frisco on Tuesday and allowed three runs in four innings while throwing 66 pitches. As with Harrison when he was on rehab assignment, the Rangers want to see better results and not just Saunders getting his pitch count up.
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.