03/12/12 7:05 PM ET
Saunders OK after injury in loss to Tribe
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
In the first inning, Cleveland's Carlos Santana sent a two-out pitch back up the middle, where it struck Saunders on the left leg. After meeting with a team trainer, Saunders attempted a warmup pitch before exiting the ballgame.
"It just caught me on the side of the shin," said Saunders, who projects to open the season as the D-backs' fourth starter. "Felt like I could have gone on, but it was a little tough to push off. They played the side of being cautious and I can't really fault them for that."
On the play, Saunders misfired on a throw to first base, resulting in an error that allowed Santana to move up to second. Arizona righty Joe Martinez entered in relief and promptly surrendered three consecutive hits to help the Indians run to a 2-1 lead. Shelley Duncan and Ryan Spilborghs each contributed an RBI single against the D-backs.
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who will begin the year in the rotation's No. 2 slot, allowed one run over three innings in his third outing of the spring. Overall, the right-hander logged 57 pitches, including 34 strikes, ending with three hits allowed, two walks issued and one strikeout. Jimenez stuck with throwing fastballs, splitters and sliders.
"I'm feeling better and better every time," Jimenez said. "I feel like my arm is getting in shape. I was a little bit out of control the first couple of innings, but this is Spring Training. It's still early. I'm going to be ready for the season."
In the first inning, Willie Bloomquist led things off by slicing a pitch from Jimenez down the right-field line for a double. Bloomquist then advanced to third base on a flyout by Ryan Roberts and scored on a groundout from Jason Kubel. The D-backs loaded the bases against Jimenez with one out in the second, but the pitcher escaped unscathed.
Cleveland added a run in the fourth inning, when lefty Zach Kroenke took over on the mound for Martinez. Left fielder Aaron Cunningham, vying for either a starting outfield job or a bench role, got the rally started with a leadoff double for the Indians. Later in the frame, Duncan drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to push the Tribe out front, 3-1.
Arizona scratched out one more run in the sixth inning, when Cleveland turned the ball over to veteran reliever Dan Wheeler. Rusty Ryal led off with a single to right field and moved to second base when Wheeler, competing for a bullpen job, walked Henry Blanco. Two batters later, Bloomquist brought Ryal home with a run-scoring base hit.
Up next for the D-backs: The D-backs return to Salt River Fields on Tuesday to take on the Angels. Trevor Cahill, acquired from the A's in the offseason, will make his second start of the spring and he will be followed to the mound by lefty Tyler Skaggs, one of the organization's top prospects. The D-backs will see a familiar face on the mound as Dan Haren is scheduled to start for the Angels.