MLB

Michael Saunders returns to Jays on minor-league deal

Michael Saunders is back in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. The Blue Jays announced Wednesday that the Victoria-born outfielder has signed a minor-league deal and will report to triple-A Buffalo. The move comes three days after Saunders was released by the Philadelphia Phillies

Outfielder was released by Philadelphia earlier this week

Michael Saunders, who spent two seasons with the Jays before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies in January, has returned to Toronto on a minor-league deal. (Charles Rex Arbogast/The Associated Press)

Michael Saunders is back in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

The Blue Jays announced Wednesday that the Victoria-born outfielder has signed a minor-league deal and will report to triple-A Buffalo. The move comes three days after Saunders was released by the Philadelphia Phillies

Saunders previously spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons in Toronto after coming over from Seattle in a deal that sent pitcher J.A. Happ to the Mariners.

After missing most of the 2015 campaign with a torn meniscus suffered when he stepped on a sprinkler at the team's spring training facility, Saunders rebounded with a strong start in 2016. He was named to the American League all-star team and headed into the break batting .298 with 16 home runs and 42 runs batted in.

His production fell sharply after the all-star break, and he hit .178 with eight homers and 15 RBIs the rest of the way.

He signed a one-year, US$8-million contract with Philadelphia in the off-season, but struggled at the plate again with a .205 average, six homers and 20 RBIs before being released.

Jays sign 2 draft picks

The Jays have signed both of their first-round picks from this month's Major League Baseball draft.

Shortstop Logan Warmoth was selected 22nd overall, while pitcher Nate Pearson was chosen as a compensation pick from Cleveland for signing free agent Edwin Encarnacion.

Manager John Gibbons believed that the pair of prospects would head on to the class-A Vancouver Canadians.

"That's when the tough part starts, they'll have to put in a lot of hard work," said Gibbons. "You hope they both make it here because we think very highly of them."

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