Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/4/12

Will he or won't he?

The Arizona Diamondbacks want left-hander Joe Saunders to pitch at least one game on a minor league rehab assignment before activating him off the disabled list.

Saunders, who went on the DL after missing a June 22 start because he couldn't get his shoulder loose, would prefer to return directly to Arizona's starting rotation.

The Diamondbacks usually win in situations like these, but as a veteran, Saunders has the power to decline such an assignment if he so chooses.

So will he try to lobby his case?

"You better believe it," Saunders said after pitching a simulated game before Arizona's 9-5 loss to the Padres at Chase Field. "I want to come back here and pitch for the club and start contributing again. That's what I want to do.

"I've done it before. I've only been on the DL twice, and that's what I did -- I didn't make a rehab start. I threw a long bullpen and then was back on the bump. That's kind of what I had in my head, but I haven't talked to anybody on the team yet."

Manager Kirk Gibson said nothing has been determined and said there is a chance Saunders could skip a rehab outing. He just thinks it would benefit the lefty.

"I'd rather Joe go down and throw," Gibson said. "That may not be what he wants to do, but after what happened last time when he couldn't answer the bell, I just want to be sure."

Gibson said everything looked good Tuesday when Saunders threw 51 pitches to teammates Ryan Roberts, Lyle Overbay and Henry Blanco.

"He threw the ball good. There was a lot of life in his arm and he had good arm speed," Gibson said. "It's been 15 days or so since he's thrown, so he should have life in there."

Saunders said his arm felt "amazing" Tuesday and added he still thinks he just slept wrong on his shoulder when it wouldn't loosen up for him before he faced the Cubs.

"I think it was a matter of a little dehydration and sleeping on it weird," he said. "It was just a weird deal. It was just really tight that day."

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