Saunders mostly worked on his own during the offseason, but had hitting coach Howard Johnson fly out to work with him for a few days. Saunders credits Johnson for helping him make a late season adjustment in 2013. While Saunders was excited about the team's additions in the offseason, he knows he'll have to compete for his job.
General manager Jeff Zduriencik mostly agreed, saying it was on Saunders to win the job. He added that the team has been waiting for Saunders to get over the hump, but that he's shown a lot of potential in his brief career.
"I'm going into Spring Training looking for a starting job," Saunders added. "That's what I've worked hard for in the offseason."
Saunders spent a little time working with new hitting coach Howard Johnson, who was an integral part to Saunders' second-half surge.
"I knew what I needed to work on going into the offseason. I was really excited about it and I just flew him out to make sure I was doing the right things, because it was him and [former hitting coach Dave] Hansen that were helping me out with it and I kind of connected with HoJo when he got called up," Saunders told MLB.com. "He was basically just keeping an eye on me and seeing what else he could add to it, now that I've had ample time to work at it."
The Mariners expect to have a wide-open competition in the outfield this spring. Saunders can play all three outfield spots, but he needs to find consistency in his offensive game to earn regular playing time during the season.
"It's up to Michael," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "With a lot of these guys, we have competition. Who emerges? We'll see. We've been waiting for Michael, as a good example, to get over that hump. We've seen good things, we've seen spurts from him where he's been good. He can play defense, bunt, run, but he hasn't put his game all together yet. I think everyone would agree, he's a very talented, athletic kid who needs to take the next step. I could say that about several of our young players."
The outfielder is batting .237 on the year after the two-hit performance. Saunders has gone 4 for 7 with three doubles, a triple, three runs scored and two RBI over his last two games. He's looking to finish the year strong for the Mariners.
Saunders was used as a pinch-runner for Michael Morse and remained in the game to play left field. He ended up singling in two at-bats. Saunders is batting .235 and should be in the lineup Wednesday.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|4/21/2014 vs Houston|
|vs Wilson (Career)||23||3||0||.130||.259||.130|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
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