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Saunders looks sharp as Angels fall to D-backs 7-6

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Joe Saunders continued to rebound from a rough start to spring training, giving up one run on five hits in four innings during the Los Angeles Angels' 7-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

After an injury-plagued 2009, the left-hander is looking to get back to his 2008 form, when he went 17-7 with a 3.41 ERA. Saunders overcame early shoulder problems to go 16-7 last season, but his ERA jumped to 4.60.

John Harter hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to score Augie Ojeda from third and give Arizona the win.

In his initial spring start Friday, Saunders was hit hard by the Chicago White Sox, allowing five hits and four earned runs over 1 2-3 innings.

"I was working on off-speed stuff," said Saunders, who figures to be in contention for the team's Opening Day starting assignment.

Saunders said he doesn't know where he'll fit into the rotation.

"We've got five quality arms," Saunders said. "It doesn't matter when or where I pitch. "I think we've got one of the best rotations in baseball. I'm excited to see where we can go. If one guy does well, the other four will pretty much feed off of it."

Arizona starter Ian Kennedy allowed seven hits and four earned runs with two walks in 3 1-3 innings. Entering the game, Kennedy had not allowed a run over five innings in two previous appearances.

"It was his worst command of the spring," Arizona manager A. J. Hinch said. "That's what hurt him. That's a pretty good hitting club."

Kennedy is slated to be a back-end starter for Arizona. The D'Backs acquired him from the New York Yankees in the three-team deal that brought Edwin Jackson to Arizona and sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.

Kennedy had a 19-6 record with a 1.95 ERA over four years in the Yankees' system, but has a 1-4 record and a 6.03 ERA over 14 major league games with the Yankees and D'Backs.

Mark Reynolds, who hit 44 homers for Arizona last season, hit his first spring homer. Juan Rivera, who hit 25 homers last season for the Angels, also hit his first homer of the spring.

NOTES: Seattle left-hander Cliff Lee was suspended by MLB for the first five games of the regular season for throwing over the head of Arizona's Chris Snyder in Monday's Cactus League game. The Diamondbacks had no reaction. "It's not my call," Snyder said. Said A.J. Hinch: "That's major league baseball's decision."

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