Bad news for the Royals: Joakim Soria, who's saved 143 games in the last four years, has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow. While no decision has been made as to what's next for the 27-year-old two-time All-Star, all signs point to Tommy John surgery. Which would mean Soria would miss at least the next 12 months.
This isn't as big a blow to Kansas City's chances of competing for a playoff spot this year as it may seem, as the Royals have a good stable of good arms who could take over the ninth inning. Jonathan Broxton, who was an elite reliever with the Dodgers only a few years ago, would be the most likely replacement closer, but Greg Holland or Louis Coleman could warrant a look as well.
Soria has held White Sox hitters to a .516 OPS over 33 career games, allowing just one home run to the 139 batters he's faced. That homer came on Aug. 22, 2007, when Josh Fields hit a three-run clout in the ninth inning off Soria -- unfortunately, though, the Sox had a four-run deficit and didn't come back to win.