ARLINGTON, Texas – Joakim Soria can’t wait to be part of the Texas Rangers revamped bullpen.
When the right-hander, who is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, is able to that remains to be seen. But Soria, who took part in the club’s Fan Fest Friday, is progressing well.
“It feels good,” said Soria, who is long tossing from up to 120 feet right now.
Soria had the surgery last April and the best guess is that he’ll return sometime in June. Soria, who signed a two-year deal with a club option for 2015, said everything has gone smoothly so far. He had his first surgery on the arm when he was 19. He did the rehabbing in Mexico then and that program wasn’t set up for athletes. This time the rehab program has been more regimented and Soria has a better idea of what to expect.
“It’s been perfect,” Soria said. “Every step has been perfect.”
Soria saved 160 games over a five-year span for the Kansas City Royals before missing all of 2012. When he does join the Texas relief staff, he’ll do so as one of the set-up men for Joe Nathan. Soria, Jason Frasor and Josh Lindblom were all acquired over the offseason to try and offset the losses of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.
“They’ve brought some good guys in here,” Soria said. “One of the strengths of this team is going to be the bullpen.”
Soria, 28, was an All-Star closer twice with the Royals and saved at least 28 games in his final four seasons. He’s comfortable with having a different role with Texas this season.
“I love to play baseball and I don’t care where I am,” he said. “I just want to help my team to the goal and that’s to win the championship.”
Nathan, who was an All-Star for the Rangers last year, is excited to have Soria on board.
“Any time you’ve got a guy that’s a late-inning guy that’s had success and obviously with Soria he’s as good as it gets when he’s healthy,” Nathan said. “Hopefully he can get back to himself sooner rather than later and give us that depth that you need in the bullpen, especially if you’re planning on playing late into the season and into the postseason.”