|2003||Did not play in major leagues (Injured)|
Major league career
Los Angeles Angels
After Bartolo Colón was placed on the disabled list during the 2006 season, Saunders was recalled a final time and replaced Colon in the rotation. Before Saunders received his first loss, he compiled a 4-0 record. He ended the season with a 7-3 record and a 4.71 ERA.
Saunders began the 2007 season in the rotation while Colon remained on the disabled list. He was optioned to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees on April 21, 2007, to make room for Colon's return. Saunders made two spot starts for when a pitcher on the Angel's normal rotation was injured: for Colon (triceps tendinitis) on June 2, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles and for Jered Weaver (bruised shoulder) on June 22, 2007, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was called up for a third time on July 21, 2007, to replace Ervin Santana in the starting rotation when Santana was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.
As the only active major league player at the time from Virginia Tech, Saunders received special dispensation to wear a Virginia Tech cap during the April 20, 2007, game against the Seattle Mariners to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. Saunders also wore the initials "VT" on his cleats and drew the Virginia Tech logo on the back of the pitcher's mound before the start of the game. He picked up the win after pitching six shutout innings.
In 2008, Saunders entered spring training in a competition with Santana for the role of 5th starter in the Angels rotation. After the Angels' co-aces John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar sustained injuries, both Saunders and Santana were promoted to full time roles as the 3rd and 4th starter, respectively. In the first third of the season, both players shone brightly, with both being considered early candidates for the American League Cy Young Award. On June 3, 2008, Saunders became the American League's first 9 game winner in a 5-4 victory over division rivals the Seattle Mariners. Saunders gave up only 1 earned run, lowering his ERA to 3rd best in the American League in the process. Saunders also then became the first American League pitcher to get 11 wins, giving up only 2 earned runs to the Philadelphia Phillies on June 21, 2008. Following the 2008 season Saunders was asked to join the USA Baseball team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic however, Saunders declined the request due to not being in shape for the tournament.
Saunders was the opening day pitcher for the Angels in the 2009 season, and got off to a good start.
On May 9, 2009, Saunders had his first complete game shutout against the Kansas City Royals.
Arizona DiamondbacksOn July 25, 2010 he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Dan Haren. Three minor league pitchers, left hander Patrick Corbin and right hander Rafael Rodriguez, and Tyler Skaggs also went to Arizona.
On December 12, 2011, Saunders was non-tendered and became a free agent. On January 17, 2012, he resigned with the Diamondbacks for one year at a salary of $6 million.