Joe Saunders, an All-Star in 2008 who has won 33 games over the past two seasons, avoided arbitration with the Angels on Friday night by agreeing to a contract for 2010, the club announced.
Saunders, 28, was 16-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 2009. The lefty finished strong after struggling with shoulder issues for much of the season.
Saunders' signing leaves the club with two remaining arbitration-eligible players: catcher Jeff Mathis and shortstop Erick Aybar.
After sitting out 19 days to allow the shoulder tightness to heal, Saunders rebounded to beat the Tigers on Aug. 26, launching a streak of seven consecutive victories in his final eight starts.
Facing the Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium, Saunders excelled, holding the Bronx Bombers to two earned runs across seven innings. The Yankees won in extra innings.
Saunders wasn't as effective in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, yielding three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings as the Yankees claimed the AL pennant.
With three years and 13 days of Major League service, Saunders is under the Angels' control through 2012.
The club's first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Virginia Tech, Saunders made the 2008 All-Star team, finishing 17-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 31 starts.
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