SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Michael Saunders had a week he's not likely soon to forget.After signing with the Pirates on Wednesday, he boarded a flight from his home in Denver on his way to camp in Florida. Saunders had just enough time to get in a Pirates uniform and step
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Michael Saunders had a week he's not likely soon to forget.
After signing with the Pirates on Wednesday, he boarded a flight from his home in Denver on his way to camp in Florida. Saunders had just enough time to get in a Pirates uniform and step on the field Thursday.
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By Friday morning, Saunders was on a red-eye flight to Arizona to join the Royals.
"Seemed like I got to the Pirates and a day later I was gone on my way [here]," Saunders said.
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Before signing with the Pirates, Saunders, 31, and general manager Neal Huntington had come up with a handshake agreement that would protect Saunders' interests if the Bucs acquired anyone else for competition in the outfield. And the Pirates did just that, acquiring Corey Dickerson on Thursday.
"[The Pirates] were real honest with us," Saunders said. "The Dickerson deal was already in the works. We agreed if a better opportunity came up … and that opportunity came up with the Royals."
Saunders still will have an uphill battle to crack the Royals' roster. He's on a Minor League deal, and the Royals are going through a prominent rebuild.
But the Royals need left-handed bats, and Saunders is anxious to prove his .202 season last year with the Phillies and Blue Jays is not who he is as a player. He was an All-Star with the Blue Jays in 2016, when he hit 24 home runs.
"No excuses about last year," he said. "Tough year. But I feel like you learn more from failure than success. A lot of people want to forget about failure, but I use it to drive me to get better."
Does Saunders feel like he has something to prove?
<p<> "It's about opportunity," Saunders said. My goal is to break camp and make the team. I know I have a lot of good baseball left in me. I really like the Royals' organization. I've always admired how they play and go about the game." </p<>
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.