Blue Jays’ Michael Saunders: ‘We’re the big dogs in the AL East’

During 'Pitch Talks' event on Thursday, Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro opens up a wee bit more on the thought process behind the failed Michael Saunders for Jays Bruce trade.

There’s no denying the lofty expectations surrounding this year’s edition of the Toronto Blue Jays. Outfielder Michael Saunders says he and his teammates are embracing it.

“We feed off that. We don’t look at it as pressure. I think we feed off that excitement,” Saunders told Baseball Central on Sportsnet 590 the Fan Tuesday. “This year, this time around, we’re the big dogs in the AL East. We’re the defending [division] champs and this is the most talented clubhouse I’ve ever been a part of.”

Saunders, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, won the starting left-fielder’s role with a strong showing in spring training. Heading into Tuesday’s series with the New York Yankees, Saunders had three RBI and a slash line of .263/.300/.474/.774.

Saunders explained there has been a snowball effect stemming from the success the Blue Jays had last season.

“I honestly think the clubhouse is very, very similar to what the clubhouse was last year,” Saunders explained. “We had a players-only meeting at the beginning of spring training about our mentalities and attitudes and coming to the ballpark expecting to win. Obviously the 3-4 start isn’t what we wanted to begin with…but the season’s still young.”

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