TEMPE, Ariz. — Joe Saunders is expected to join the mix of pitchers in Texas Rangers’ camp competing for a spot in the rotation.The Rangers and the veteran left-hander have agreed to a major league contract, according to a source, although it is not official.Saunders will join the candidates competing for the backend rotation spots, along with Tommy Hanson, Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch and relievers Robbie Ross, Michael Kirkman and Tanner Scheppers.The Rangers are looking for as many possible candidates as possible for what has become a depleted rotation. Derek Holland is out until at least the All-Star break, and Matt Harrison was slowed earlier this spring by lower back stiffness. Lewis had a rough spring debut on Monday, and Hanson has not blown anyone away.Saunders, 32, gives them another option who has experience pitching in the American League West. He went 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA over 32 starts last season with the Mariners, and spent the first six seasons of his career with the Angels. He has struggled at Globe Life Park, though, going 1-7 with a 8.58 ERA over eight career starts.He has pitched better at the Ballpark the past few seasons and had a 4.20 ERA in two starts there last year. He might be best known by fans as the starter for the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 wild-card game.Saunders allowed one run on six hits over 52/3 innings to lead the Orioles to a 5-1 victory and complete a disappointing finish for the Rangers.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison