Saunders to throw Sunday in rookie league game

Saunders to throw Sunday in rookie league game

PHOENIX -- In preparation to return to the D-backs' rotation after the All-Star break, Joe Saunders will throw upward of 90 pitches Sunday in an Arizona Rookie League game at Salt River Fields.

The 31-year-old pitched a simulated game Tuesday at Chase Field and came out of it saying he felt ready to start right away for the D-backs, but the club insisted on him throwing again beforehand.

"It's very noble to think he can sit out for three weeks, throw one time, then be ready to throw 110 pitches," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "But that's not smart. Could he do it? Yeah, but what about the next start? You have to be mindful of the future."

Saunders has been on the disabled list since June 23, retroactive to June 17, with shoulder inflammation. The lefty is 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA on the season

"Most important thing is he gets his pitch count up." Gibson said. "We talked about it yesterday, he gets it. We want Joe Saunders on the mound."