SURPRISE, Ariz. – One of the main pieces for the Texas Rangers bullpen is taking his own time in getting ready for the season.
That’s just the way the Rangers want Joakim Soria to approach the spring.
Soria, who is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last April, is progressing at his own pace in his bid to get ready for the season. He’s throwing fastballs in his bullpen sessions and will ramp things up to 30 pitches starting Monday.
So far, all is going well for the 28-year old who signed a two-year deal with the Rangers that includes a club option for 2015.
“I’m feeling very good,” Soria said. “So far this week I threw three bullpens Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it was perfect. I didn’t have any pain, any soreness the next day or that day. I think this is the biggest step the first week of bullpens and everything went smooth. This is nice.”
Soria has tried to ramp up the intensity in his bullpens and plans to start throwing breaking pitches in the next couple of weeks. He’s targeted a late May return to the majors.
As with the rehabbing Colby Lewis, the Rangers only want Soria to have to get healthy once.
“We’ve got to make sure that when he comes back it’s only one time,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Whatever time he needs, whatever time we sit down with him and feel he needs because we will take him input, we will give it to him. He’s a quality pitcher and what he brings is an extra mentality in that bullpen of getting outs.”
One issue Soria hasn’t had is making sure he shows up in the right clubhouse. He spent the last six seasons on the other side of the Surprise Recreation Campus with Kansas City. He’s adjusting well to his new surroundings and hasn’t visiting the Royals clubhouse since spring training started.
“Every spring training you know a lot of people and every team, even with the Royals, you have 20 new people in town,” said Soria, who started experiencing elbow soreness last spring and didn’t pitch in a game for the Royals. “You basically start over. In here I know a couple of guys. It’s a new family and I like it so far. It’s been really good.”