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Blue Jays sign Michael Saunders to minor-league deal

The outfielder will re-join the Jays organization after being released by the Phillies.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have brought back outfielder Michael Saunders on a minor-league deal, according to a club announcement. He’ll report to Triple-A Buffalo.

Saunders, 30, spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Jays before signing a one-year, $9 million deal with the Phillies (with an $11 million option for 2018) before the season. He hit .205/.257/.360 with six homers in just 61 games in Philadelphia and was designated for assignment and subsequently released last week.

Saunders will provide depth for Toronto behind Jose Bautista, Steve Pearce and Ezequiel Carrera in the outfield, serving as a formerly dependable option with experience in the organization. While he will begin in the minors, it would not be a surprise to see the Jays promote him to the majors as a bench option at some point in the next few weeks.

Saunders, a veteran of nine seasons, hit .253/.338/.478 with 24 homers and 57 RBI in an All-Star campaign with Toronto in 2016. He owns a career .233/.305/.398 line in nine major-league seasons with Seattle, Toronto and Philadelphia.