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Royals' Soria to consider options on elbow injury

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | 7:18 p.m. CDT

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria will take a few days to consider his options after receiving a second opinion on his elbow injury.

Soria has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003 to replace the same ligament.

After leaving Sunday's game with pain in the elbow, Soria was examined Tuesday by physician Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles.

"He's taking the day to sit back and think through things," Royals manager Ned Yost said Wednesday. "We'll give him a day or two and then we'll go from there."

Yost said he didn't know what the options were.

Soria, a two-time All-Star, has 160 career saves, including a career-high 43 in 2010. Even if the 27-year-old Soria chooses not to have surgery, he would likely miss three months. If Tommy John surgery, formally known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is necessary, he would miss the season.

"It's going to be a serious blow to our 'pen," Yost said. "Jack was the guy that was the leader in the bullpen. He was the guy everybody looked up to. We think we'll be covered down there, be able to absorb it. But, still, when you lose your leader, that hurts."

Yost said Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland and Aaron Crow were candidates to close games.

"All three of those guys are capable of doing that — they really are," Yost said. "We'll play it out. We may go with some combination of the two or three or whatever. We've got time left to think through it and figure out what's best for our club.

"We think we've got a bullpen that we think is going to be filled with power-arm relievers. What combination we use them in might vary from day to day."

Yost said he does not like a closer by committee, but "that could be an option."

Broxton had 84 saves with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but needed arthroscopic elbow surgery Sept. 19 to remove a bone spur and fragments. Holland was 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA and four saves last year. Crow was an All-Star selection as a rookie, going 4-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 57 relief appearances.

Crow, a 2009 first-round pick out of Missouri, entered camp as a candidate for the rotation, but that has changed.

"I called Aaron into the office and told him now that Jack's probably going to be gone for some time, I think it makes our club stronger with him in the 'pen," Yost said. "It gives us the ability to win on an everyday basis more with him in the 'pen."


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