Jays' Michael Saunders injures knee injury, out until July
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders could be sidelined until around the All-Star break after stepping on a sprinkler while shagging fly balls and tearing cartilage in his left knee.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos said Thursday the injury occurred a day earlier and is expected to require surgery. Saunders will seek a second opinion before making a decision.
Saunders, acquired from Seattle in a December trade and projected as a starter, said he felt a pop after stepping awkwardly on the sprinkler head while going after a ball at the team's training facility.
''I just tried to walk off the field and not draw any attention to myself. Then, when I got into the training room, my knee felt like it was getting tight on the inside,'' said Saunders, who was on crutches. ''I've never had any issues with my knees, so that's when I knew that something was wrong.''
Anthopoulos said the team will look internally for a replacement but is open to a trade or free-agent signing.
''I actually started making some calls last night with respect to seeing who else could be out there,'' he said. ''There are some teams out there with some outfield depth. If we do something, it will be toward the end of spring.''
Anthopoulos said Saunders could return before the break in mid-July if there are no complications.
''It is just one of those things,'' Anthopoulos said. ''Bad luck, and a tough loss, but we'll get through it and he will be back. We're still going to have him for quite a bit of time.''
Saunders was an early arrival in camp. Toronto's position players are scheduled to hold their first full workout on Friday.
The 28-year-old Saunders was traded from the Mariners to Toronto for pitcher J.A. Happ. He hit .273 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 78 games with the Mariners last season, when he made two trips to the disabled list because of shoulder and oblique injuries.
The Blue Jays have several outfielders in camp. Star Jose Bautista is in right and Dalton Pompey and Kevin Pillar are competing for the job in center.
Chris Dickerson, Ezequiel Carrera and Caleb Gindl are non-roster players in camp. Infielders Danny Valencia and Chris Colabello might get a look in the outfield, too.
If the Blue Jays make a deal, catcher Dioner Navarro could be on the move. He's asked to be traded after Russell Martin was signed to be the starter.