On Thursday, the Jays announced that Saunders had a torn meniscus in his left knee and would likely be out until the All-Star break in July. He was reportedly injured while shagging fly balls on Wednesday.
According to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi, the change in Saunders' prognosis came after the surgeon found the tear "was so significant, it could not be repaired." Instead of trying to fix the meniscus, which requires a longer recovery period, Saunders opted have the damaged cartilage removed anyway.
"Having him back sooner is great, and nice that he’s got a chance to be back by the middle of April,” said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "If he recovers well, it could be a little sooner. I think the standard is four to six weeks, but just because we’re in spring training and trying to get ready, and talking with the doctors, he's going to need at-bats. That’s maybe where it’s going to take a little bit longer."
Saunders, 28, was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Blue Jays in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ in December. In 78 games last season, he batted .273 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.
The Blue Jays open the 2015 season on April 6 against the Yankees in New York.
- Molly Geary