Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saunders credits healthy leg for success

By Anthony Fenech / | 06/05/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs starter Joe Saunders said he kept it "On the hush-hush."

But after his third straight win on Saturday, the left-hander opened up about a leg issue that was bothering him for the first month and a half of the season.

"Knock on wood," he said. "It's not a factor anymore."

Saunders said that after his first start of the season, against the Cubs in cold Chicago, he tweaked something in his left leg that made it hard to push off the rubber and keep the ball down in the strike zone.

"It was just sore," he said. "It was tough to me to push off like I was capable of doing, and it was a struggle to go deep in games.

"I'm feeling a lot better now. It's nice to see the velocity come back. It gives you more confidence."

Saunders has pitched at least seven innings in two of his last three starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in three of his last four starts. He is 3-5 with a 4.32 ERA in 12 starts this season

"I think he has more life to his pitches," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's had pretty good movement and has kept the opponents off balance pretty well."

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