Timetable says it’s Soria’s turn
By Greg Echlin
August 7, 2010
According to Ned Yost�s timetable, Joakim Soria will be working this weekend.
�If it gets to the fourth day, we try to get him in a game,� said Yost on the weekend after the All-Star break. Soria last worked on Tuesday when he picked up his 30th save of the year in the Royals 3-2 win at Oakland. If its� not a save situation, Yost would to keep Soria�s pitch count between the 15-20 range.
�When your mindset is that you�re coming in one run down, or tied or with the lead, it�s tough for them to get going when you�re down five, six or seven runs just to get an innings worth of work in,� said Yost at a time when he still had Kyle Farnsworth and Robinson Tejeda as the bridge combo to Soria. Since then, Farnsworth has been traded and Tejeda is on the disabled list.
In the Friday night series opener at Seattle, down five runs, left-hander Dusty Hughes got an inning of work in. It was his first appearance in a week. Over the last week, the newly-acquired Jesse Chavez, Blake Wood and Kanekoa Texeira have evolved as the set-up relief pitchers to Soria.
If Soria converts on his next save opportunity, it would be his 24th straight which would tie the team record held by Jeff Montgomery (May 25 to August 9, 1993). Montgomery finished with a career-high 45 saves that season, the co-leader in the American League with Toronto�s Duane Ward. Currently, Soria�s 30 saves rank second in the American League to Tampa Bay�s Rafael Soriano who has 31.
Soria�s 30th save Tuesday equals his total from last year and marks his third straight season with 30 saves or more (he had 42 in 2008). Montgomery was also the last Royals relief pitcher to notch 30 saves or more for three consecutive seasons (1991-93). Dan Quisenberry holds the team record with four straight seasons (1982-85) of 30 saves or more.
One statistic from last year that Soria will not match is his five saves in 2009 working two innings or more. Last year�s total led the major leagues, but Yost has made it clear that he has no intention of trying to stretch Soria beyond one inning this season.
To avoid his third stint on the disabled list in his four seasons with the Royals, each of the last two because of shoulder problems, Soria worked on improving his upper body strength in Kansas City instead of returning to Mexico in the off-season.
�I stayed in Kansas City with the trainer (physical therapist Jeff Blum) and the conditioning guy (Ty Hill). We worked really hard in the off-season and we made good preparation for this season,� said Soria.
Soria�s busiest stretch was from June 28 to July 7. In that span of ten days, Soria pitched in seven games�back-to-back, July 2 and 3, and three games in a row July 5-7�and registered a save in each.
The main thing is he survived the load and is ready for more.