Joakim Soria is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. The former Kansas City Royals closer suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and underwent surgery in March of last year. While the procedure requires a 12-18 month recovery time, many pitchers are returning at the 12-month mark. Not Soria. He is not expected back until the middle of the 2013 season.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas is reporting that Soria will be back and ready to pitch for the Texas Rangers in June. Durrett says Soria has been throwing from up to 120 feet, but not for extended periods of time. He will increase his stamina and eventually work towards throwing off a mound.
"I'd like to start when the season begins in April, but that's not realistic," Soria said. "I'm still looking at late May, but it's probably more like the first few days of June. It depends how it goes with the bullpens. I'm doing everything possible to get ready as soon as I can. My goal is to be with the team and help them."
Soria was acquired by the Rangers this offseason and is expected to be Joe Nathan's set-up man in Texas. The duo could provide a significant one-two punch if both can remain healthy. While the Rangers wait for Soria to be healthy enough to pitch, they will likely use a combination of arms for the eighth inning.
Soria is 28 years old and will be pitching in his sixth Major League season. Up to this point, he has spent his entire career in Kansas City. With the Royals, Soria has 160 saves and a career ERA of just 2.40. However, in 2011, Soria had just 28 saves and posted a career-high 4.03 ERA.
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