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Ailing knee sidelines Saunders for third game

SEATTLE -- Michael Saunders was out of the lineup for a third straight game on Tuesday as the Mariners outfielder continues to recover from a hyperextended left knee.

Saunders said the injury, which occurred in the fourth inning of Saturday's 3-1 win over the Royals, isn't serious and he's ready to play when possible.

"I'm doing everything pregame as usual," Saunders said prior to Tuesday's contest with the Rays. "It's a little stiff, but I'm available to pinch-hit and we'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow. We'll take it day by day, but I'm anxious to get back in there and start going again."

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he'd like to steer away from using Saunders through the Rays series, which would then give him an extra day's rest with the team traveling Thursday before opening a five-game road trip to Minnesota and Texas.

"He's getting better," McClendon said. "He's still sore and from what I was told, he's going to be sore for a couple days. But he's able to get out and do things if needed."

Saunders was injured when his feet came out from under him when he hit some loose turf while chasing a ball down the right-field line and he bent the knee as he tried to catch himself.

"It's unfortunate, but it happens," he said. "It could have been worse."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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