Healthy Saunders moving past trade rumors

Healthy Saunders moving past trade rumors

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Outfielder Michael Saunders said he has been assured by the Blue Jays' front office that the reported three-team trade between the Blue Jays, Reds and Angels was nothing more than rumor and speculation.

Saunders sat down with general manager Ross Atkins and manager John Gibbons Tuesday morning to discuss his situation. The night before, multiple reports indicated the veteran outfielder was going to be dealt as part of a three-team trade for Cincinnati's Jay Bruce.

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Those same reports later indicated the deal fell through because there were concerns about the medicals for an undisclosed prospect. Where there's smoke there's usually fire, and it's hard to imagine all of the rumors were false -- but that appears to be what Saunders was told.

"Ross and Gibby talked to me and that's kind of the human element of it," Saunders said. "They made sure I wasn't paying attention to any of the rumors and they assured me they were rumors and nothing more. I expect to be a Jay, they expect me to be a Jay and that's how I'm approaching this Spring Training. Going into the season, I want to be every part of bringing a championship to Toronto."

When the reported news first broke about medicals causing issues with the potential trade, it was assumed Saunders might be the culprit because of his surgically-repaired left knee. That turned out to be false, and the 29-year-old once again clarified Tuesday that he is feeling healthy and does not anticipate any problems this spring.

Saunders underwent surgery last spring to remove 60 percent of the meniscus from his knee. He later developed a deep bone bruise in the same area, which cost him the entire season except for nine games. Saunders has been gradually building up ever since, and while the process was slow at first, he's back to feeling normal.

"It feels great, my knee feels great," Saunders said. "It's fully healed. I spent time in the offseason to really step back and not try to get ready for a season again like last year when I was rushing to get back. I finally had some down time to really just relax, let my knee heal at its own pace. It did that and it feels fantastic."

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