Right-hander Joakim Soria is scheduled to pitch tonight and tomorrow for the Texas Rangers' Double-A affiliate. If he's able to do so -- pitch back-to-back nights without setback -- Soria could be on pace to join the Rangers as soon as this weekend, according to Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas.
While manager Ron Washington wouldn't confirm a timeframe for Soria's return, he did say the former All-Star closer is "getting close" to joining Texas' bullpen. Soria has not pitched since the 2011 season, as he missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Entering the year, there was expectation that Soria would be out through July. For this reason, the Rangers were able to work out an agreement that pays the 29-year-old $2 million this year, $5.5 million in '14 and also includes a $7 million team option for '15.
If Soria is able to return to form -- which more and more pitchers are able to do following the TJ procedure -- the contract could prove a steal for Texas. Entering the 2011 season, Soria posted an ERA and WHIP of 2.01 and 0.988 with a 4.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio from 2007-2010. Over five seasons in the majors he owns a career mark of a 2.40 ERA and 1.043 WHIP with 239 saves over five seasons.
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