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After dizzying week, Saunders digs in as a Royal

Outfielder initially signed with Pirates Wednesday, nullified deal after Bucs acquired Dickerson
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

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.

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?

"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."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Michael Saunders