Saunders feels ready to return after sim game

Saunders feels ready to return after sim game

PHOENIX -- D-backs left-hander Joe Saunders threw 51 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday and pronounced himself ready to return to the rotation.

The D-backs, however, might choose to have him make a Minor League rehab start.

Saunders threw 17 pitches and sat down to simulate an inning break and then did the same thing two more times.

"He threw the ball good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "A lot of life in his arm a lot of arm speed. We'll see how he feels tomorrow and see from there."

Teammates Henry Blanco, Lyle Overbay and Ryan Roberts stood in against Saunders.

"It felt great," Saunders said. "It felt great to get back on the mound. It was a little weird throwing to my own hitters, but they said it was coming out good. My arm felt amazing so hopefully I can get back out there ASAP."

Saunders was scratched from his start June 22 against the Cubs when he was unable to get his shoulder loose while warming up in the bullpen.

"I want to just be sure, that's all," Gibson said about his reasoning for wanting Saunders to make a possible rehab start on Sunday.

"I want to come here and pitch for the club and start contributing again," Saunders said. "I don't know what the plan is, but we'll talk about that. I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I can pitch soon like even this week so we'll cross that bridge when we have to."