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Originally published June 27, 2014 at 9:17 PM | Page modified June 27, 2014 at 10:52 PM

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Michael Saunders gets off to quick start in return from disabled list

Saunders says rehabilitation in Tacoma lets him “trust” that shoulder is ready.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Michael Saunders looked as ready once the game began as he had promised to be beforehand.

In his first action since going on the disabled list June 11 with a shoulder injury, Saunders doubled in the second inning of Friday night’s game against Cleveland.

Saunders was activated before the game, with Jesus Montero sent back down to Tacoma, after having hit .450 in 20 at-bats during a rehab stint with the Rainiers.

Saunders had a similar injury to the same right shoulder a year ago after which he felt he returned too soon.

“Going down and getting the five games and (20) at-bats made me trust it, basically,’’ Saunders said. “Something that I learned was rehab, usually the last 5-10 percent is trusting that you are healthy and it’s hard to really let things go and play the way you normally do. I was able to do that without limitations, and I wouldn’t be here today unless I was ready.’’

Saunders returned to the lineup in the seventh spot after having been used more in the top two positions before being hurt. But manager Lloyd McClendon noted the success that Endy Chavez and James Jones have had at the top of the order and that putting Saunders lower makes for a deeper lineup.

Notes

• Major League Baseball announced that Mariner minor-league outfielders Jabari Blash and Jamal Austin were suspended for violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Both players were suspended for 50 games without pay for what were their second positive tests for drug abuse.

Blash, an eighth-round pick in 2010, had been with Tacoma while Austin was with Class AA Jackson. Both suspensions are immediate.

• There is still no scheduled pitcher for Monday. Speculation is it could be Taijuan Walker. But McClendon said only that “we have options.”

James Paxton threw a 25-pitch bullpen session as he continues his road to recovery.

T.J. House, a left-hander, will start for the Indians on Sunday against Felix Hernandez, in place of Justin Masterson, who is being moved back a few days due to a sore knee.

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