The Kansas City Royals are going to have to adjust to a couple of unexpected injuries from spring training as they head into a promising 2012 MLB season. First it was the loss of Salvador Perez at catcher for at least the first few months of the season. Now closer Joakim Soria is sidelined with a sore right elbow and it’s clear on all sides that it could be the sort of lingering injury where he could miss time.
For now, the word is that the Royals will take it easy with him over the next few days and monitor his progress. However as the Royals plan for the worst case scenario, they have some solid options in the bullpen already.
The best case is likely Greg Holland who had a fantastic year in 2011. Holland threw 60 innings and allowed only 37 hits while striking out 74. It was good for a 5-1 record and a 1.80 ERA. Fangraphs’ Mike Podhorzer writes, “Assuming he can keep up that strikeout rate, and all the evidence points to this being likely, than he should be more than capable of holding down the closer role.”
Another option is newly signed reliever Jon Broxton, who has held down the closer role before with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Royals’ manager Ned Yost said recently, “I like what I see. He’s a guy who has tremendous stuff, and he commands the ball down. You can see how he was an All-Star closer in years past. He’s a power pitcher with command.”
The Royals will definitely miss Soria, but for those wondering where they turn next, there are some decent options already in-house. No external moves should be made in this instance, as they wait for Soria to heal and others to step up.
For more on Soria’s injury and the Royals spring training progress, check out Royals Review.