Joe Saunders to Join Orioles After Baltimore Swings Trade With Arizona Diamondbacks

Joe Saunders to Join Orioles After Baltimore Swings Trade With Arizona DiamondbacksBALTIMORE — Eager to bolster an inexperienced pitching staff during their first playoff run since 1997, the Baltimore Orioles obtained left-hander Joe Saunders on Sunday in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Baltimore gave Arizona right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom and cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Saunders, who was scheduled to start Sunday against San Diego, was 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts with Arizona this season. He won 12 games last season while helping the Diamondbacks win their first NL West title since 2007.

Baltimore began the day tied for the second American League wild card spot with Oakland and in third place in the AL East, only four games behind the division-leading New York Yankees.

"I like our ballclub's chances," said Dan Duquette, the Orioles vice president of baseball operations. "There's an old saying: If you're going in the right direction, keep walking. So the addition of Joe Saunders gives us a chance to keep walking in the right direction. And I think it gives us better balance against the left-handed lineups that we're going to be facing."

Saunders was born in nearby northern Virginia, played high school ball in Virginia and pitched at Virginia Tech before being drafted in the first round in 2002 by the Los Angeles Angels.

"We've liked Joe Saunders for quite a while," Duquette said. "We had some discussions with him in the offseason. He's a local kid and a professional left-handed pitcher. He's won more than he's lost in the big leagues, he's pitched in the American League, he's pitched in the playoffs. He's pitched in a tough ballpark in Arizona."

The Orioles have only one left-hander in the bullpen and a rotation that includes rookies Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and Steve Johnson.

"We just liked his experience, which I think compliments our starting rotation," Duquette said of Saunders. "And I also like the fact he's left-handed."

Saunders, 31, has pitched for the Angels and Diamondbacks since launching his big league career in 2005.

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