Veteran outfielder Michael Saunders has asked for and been granted his release by the Orioles, per David Hall of the Virginian Pilot (Twitter link). Saunders had an opt-out clause in his deal, Hall adds.
The 31-year-old Saunders signed a minor league pact with the Orioles in early April after bouncing from the Pirates to the Royals in Spring Training. He opened the season with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk but has gotten off to a rough start, hitting just .161/.291/.253 with a homer, three doubles, a triple and two steals in 103 plate appearances. Saunders punched out 23 times but also drew 16 walks in his brief stint with the Tides.
Saunders enjoyed an All-Star first half with the Blue Jays in 2016 but wore down in the second half of that season before a disastrous 2017 with the Phillies. The former top prospect often showed potential with the Mariners produced in Seattle when on the field, but injuries have been an ongoing issue throughout his career. Most recently, he missed the majority of the 2015 season after suffering a torn meniscus in Spring Training that required surgery. Saunders has also dealt with shoulder injuries and missed time due to an oblique issue in the Majors as well.