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Originally published August 29, 2014 at 9:32 PM | Page modified August 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

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Michael Saunders working out again after severe illness

Michael Saunders was back at Safeco Field on Friday working out before the game. He is finally healthy for some physical activity, which is a good sign for the Mariners.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Michael Saunders was back at Safeco Field on Friday working out before the game. He is finally healthy for some physical activity, a good sign for the Mariners.

Saunders played catch and hit in the cage. It was a light workout after being down for five days with “Fifth Disease,” which he contracted from his newborn daughter.

The disease, which is a skin rash in children, can give adults flu-like symptoms along with aching in joints.

How bad was it? Well, he lost about 12 pounds and didn’t eat for about four days.

“I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” he said.

But he believes the worst his behind him.

“I’m feeling much better now,” he said. “It was a tough go there for about four or five days but my energy level is starting to come back, my strength is starting to come back, my appetite is starting to come back so I’ll work my way back into game shape.”

It won’t be easy.

“There was about four or five days where I wasn’t eating and just concentrating on staying hydrated,” he said. “I was in pretty rough condition there but I’ve turned a page for the better now and definitely working my way back.”

As for the plans going forward, he’s not at a point where they can schedule a rehab assignment.

Roster move

The Mariners made the expected move of optioning Erasmo Ramirez back to Class AAA Tacoma on Friday. Ramirez made a spot start Wednesday, giving up 10 runs in three innings. With that spot in the rotation not up until Tuesday for James Paxton’s scheduled start, Seattle recalled outfielder James Jones from the Rainiers. Jones hit .256 (75 for 293) with 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts in 83 games with the Mariners this season.

Rotation change

The Mariners continued to make changes to their pitching rotation in the effort to get extra rest for their starters. The team announced that they flip-flopped Chris Young (12-6, 3.17 ERA) and Roenis Elias (9-11, 4.01 ERA) in the rotation, meaning Elias will start Saturday night against the Nationals, while Young will start Monday in Oakland. Young has thrown 1501/3  innings after throwing more than 100 innings (115 in 2012) only once in the previous four seasons.

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