Saunders set to return on Wednesday

Saunders set to return on Wednesday

ANAHEIM -- Angels left-hander Joe Saunders, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 8 with left shoulder stiffness, threw a bullpen session on Monday and is expected to start on Wednesday against the Tigers.

Saunders also threw about 55 pitches in a simulated game on Friday in Toronto to get ready for his start at Angel Stadium.

"The workout he had in Toronto was exceptional," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're confident and comfortable getting him back out there Wednesday."

Saunders last pitched on Aug. 7 against the Rangers, allowing five runs on five hits in just 1 2/3 innings. He was placed on the DL after the game, saying he battled with soreness caused by a knot in his shoulder the entire season.

The soreness clearly affected Saunders' pitching, as he has a 5.33 ERA after posting a 3.41 ERA last season with the Angels.

But Scioscia was confident on Monday that the knot in Saunders' left shoulder had subsided and that Saunders could return to his 2008 form when he was an All-Star for the first time.

"I don't know if you'll feel 100 percent at this point in the season, but his arm speed and the way the ball was coming out of his hand was impressive," Scioscia said. "I'm sure it calmed some things down resting."

Scioscia also said he expects Saunders to make a normal start on Wednesday without having to worry about a pitch count.

"It's safe to say that he'll have enough to throw 110 to 115 pitches,"

Scioscia said. "He'll have enough to pitch deep into a game if he's effective. We'll see how it goes."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.