Joakim Soria nears return to the Tigers’ bullpen

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Tigers reliever Joakim Soria threw a simulated game this morning and felt good enough that he could be cleared to come off the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Soria has been out for a month with a strained oblique muscle, but threw 27 pitches today and previously avoided setbacks during multiple bullpen sessions last week. He called today “a big step” and with Tigers closer Joe Nathan sidelined by an elbow injury it’s possible that Soria could see some ninth-inning duties pretty quickly upon returning.

Soria appeared in just six games for the Tigers after they acquired him from the Rangers, for whom he had a 2.70 ERA and 42/4 K/BB ratio in 33 innings.

Koji Uehara has retired

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Jim Allen of Kyodo News reports that Koji Uehara has retired from baseball.

Uehara, 44, has spent the past two seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, which is the where he began his career way back in 1998. He spent eight years there as a starter, winning 20 games in his rookie season, then one year as a closer and one year in swingman duties before coming to the United States.

Once in the majors he pitched for four different major league teams over nine seasons — the Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox and Cubs — from 2009-2017. In that time he posted an excellent 2.66 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 572/78 K/BB ratio in 480.2 innings and notched 95 saves. He won a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2013 and was an All-Star in 2014. Uehara’s last big league stint in America with the Cubs in 2017, for whom he posted a 3.98 ERA (111 ERA+) in 49 games.

Happy trails to an excellent reliever.