Second opinion confirms Joakim Soria’s ligament damage, Tommy John surgery looms

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Joakim Soria moved one step closer to Tommy John surgery, as a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum confirmed the initial diagnosis of a damaged ulnar collateral ligament.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Soria is “taking a few days off to consider options” following the second opinion, but adds that surgery “seems likely.”

If he does go under the knife Soria would miss all of this season and possibly the beginning of next season, which may cause the Royals to decline their $8 million option on the stud closer for 2013.

Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland are the leading in-house candidates to replace Soria in the closer role and the Royals have already decided to move Aaron Crow back to the bullpen.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.