Saunders has setback with tight right hamstring

Rehabbing outfielder exits game for Class A Advanced Dunedin after one at-bat

Saunders has setback with tight right hamstring

BALTIMORE -- Michael Saunders was removed from his rehab game with Class A Advanced Dunedin on Sunday afternoon because of a tight right hamstring.

Saunders singled and scored in the first inning as a designated hitter, but he didn't come back out for his second plate appearance. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Saunders felt some tightness and was removed for precautionary reasons.

The injury comes one day after Saunders made his first appearance in left field. Saunders, who is working his way back from left knee surgery, played the field for five innings during Dunedin's game on Saturday night.

"He's in Spring Training in terms of getting his legs underneath him," Anthopoulos said a couple of hours before the hamstring became an issue. "We've had him, in terms of his timing, his at-bats, he's been doing that for a while now, but now it's a matter of getting him to play nine innings in the field.

"[We want him] doing that at least back-to-back days to make sure he's strong and his legs are in good shape."

It's not immediately clear how Saunders' hamstring injury will impact the timing of his return. The expectation was that he would advance to Triple-A Buffalo later this week, but the status of his rehab remains in question until more information becomes available.

Pillar's solo home run

Kevin Pillar, who homered Sunday afternoon against Baltimore, will continue to fill in during Saunders' absence. Pillar has at least one hit in all but one of Toronto's six games this season, while providing plus defense in left field.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.