Saunders showed an aggressive approach in the first few games before his injury and he wants to keep that same approach.
“I was feeling good before I got hurt. Like I said, I vowed to stay aggressive last year. I vowed to stay aggressive this year. If I get a pitch to hit, I’m going to be taking a hack at it,” the 26-year-old outfielder told Mariners.com.
Saunders did exactly that last night, sending a 1-0 delivery from Orioles left-hander Zach Britton into the right field stands, spoiling Britton’s season debut.
Before his injury Saunders was hitting very well and was having success out of the leadoff role against right-handed pitching, posting a .300 average. With Franklin Gutierrez on the shelf again, Saunders will be forced to hit leadoff against all pitchers.
The Mariners’ offense greatly missed over the games that he missed, having to play the light-hitting Jason Bay and Michael Morse who was playing with a broken pinky.
However, Endy Chavez was able to re-establish himself as a major league outfielder, hitting over .300 during Saunders’ absence.
It says a lot about how much Saunders has progressed over the last few seasons due to the fact that he was so greatly missed over the few weeks. It would be a huge understatement to say that the Mariners are glad to have him back in center field.