Texas Rangers

March 29, 2014

Rangers’ Saunders says he’s ready for games that count

The Rangers’ No. 4 starter allowed seven runs but said his arm is healthy and his mechanics are dialed in.

The results are going to start mattering soon for Joe Saunders. Later next week, to be exact.

But the seven runs he allowed in 4 1/3 innings Saturday weren’t foremost on Saunders’ mind after the Texas Rangers were thumped 13-6 to wrap up an 0-for-2 weekend at the Alamodome.

He said that he is ready to go for the regular season after logging 87 pitches against a lineup full of Houston Astros minor leaguers in a wacky ballpark where home runs seemed about as commonplace as empty seats.

“When you pitch in a place like this you can’t focus on results,” said Saunders, who also allowed eight hits while walking two and striking out seven. “You focus on mechanics and strikes and making your pitches.

“I felt good. Today’s outing was more about where my arm was at. It almost felt too good.”

Saunders allowed back-to-back homers in the makeshift ballpark as the Astros scored three times in the first inning.

The first was a two-run shot by Jesus Guzman that would have been the third out at a stadium with normal dimensions. George Springer followed with a shot to center that would have been out at Globe Life Park.

Saunders, who also took a grounder by the game’s second batter off the side of his left leg just below the knee, issued a run in the third and was charged with three more in the fifth, his last inning as his pitch count climbed to a spring-high.

Two scored were charged to Saunders on a grand slam by Jonathan Meyer off right-hander Daniel McCutchen.

Not even spring star Robbie Ross, tuning up for his Wednesday start, was immune to the short porch in right field. He could only shake his head and giggle at the three-run homer by Jiovanni Mier in the seventh.

Leonys Martin and Brent Lillibridge homered for the Rangers, whose regulars took only one at-bat apiece.

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