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I definitely spoke too soon last Sunday when, in my column, I labeled Michael Saunders as the most disappointing player in camp.
That may have been the correct perception for a large part of spring training, but they go six-plus weeks for a reason. I feel obligated to now give Saunders his due. He has been torrid for the past week as he puts to use some modifications to his swing. Saunders is making a strong case to get considerable time in center field if Franklin Gutierrez’s illness forces him to the disabled list.
If there’s ever a time to catch fire, it’s at the end of camp, not at the beginning, and that’s what Saunders is doing. He had two more hits in three at-bats Friday night in the Mariners’ 6-0 win over the Dodgers, and has raised his Cactus League average to .310.
All Saunders has done over his last five games is go 7-for-13 with six runs scored, a homer, double and three RBI.
Closing like that, and appearing to successfully revamp his approach at the plate, is far from a disappointment. It’s a big step forward.