SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Joe Saunders was the opposing pitcher who helped end the Texas Rangers' last playoff appearance two seasons ago.
Now the veteran left-hander will get a chance to earn a spot in the Texas rotation after finalizing a one-year contract that guarantees him the $500,000 minimum.
Saunders's salary would increase to $1.5 million if he makes the team. He can earn performance bonuses in addition to his salary under the deal completed Tuesday.
With injured lefty Derek Holland expected to be out at least half the season after knee surgery, Saunders joined the team in Arizona on Wednesday to provide another potential starting option.
"I feel like I'm right on track," said Saunders, who had been throwing bullpen sessions on his own.
Saunders has an 89-81 career record with a 4.30 ERA in 221 games, all starts with the Los Angeles Angels (2005-10), Arizona (2010-12), Baltimore (2012) and Seattle (2013). The 32-year-old lefty was 11-16 with a career-high 5.26 ERA in 32 starts last season before Seattle declined his 2014 option.
In the 2012 AL wild-card game at Texas, Saunders allowed one run over 5 2-3 innings in Baltimore's 5-1 victory over Texas.