Jorge Soler
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Jorge Soler unlikely to return in 2018

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler isn’t guaranteed to return to the field this season, manager Ned Yost told reporters Sunday. Soler had been working his way back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list after he fractured his left toe in mid-June, but experienced an unanticipated setback in his recovery this week and is no longer a lock to rejoin the team before the end of 2018.

Soler, 26, is in his second year with the Royals following a swap for the Cubs’ Wade Davis in the 2016 offseason. This was shaping up to be his most productive season to date: prior to the injury, he slashed .265/.354/.466 with nine home runs and an .820 OPS through 257 plate appearances for the team. During his two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Omaha, he went 2-for-8 with a pair of base hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

While Yost didn’t reveal the exact nature of the setback, it doesn’t sound like Soler is facing anything serious enough to compromise his playing time in 2019. Surgery was ruled out as a potential fix for the fracture earlier this season, and it’s likely that Soler is just looking at another few weeks of rest and rehabilitation at this point. The Royals, meanwhile, still have several options in the right field corner, with Jorge Bonifacio and Rosell Herrera to continue holding down the fort in Soler’s absence.

The harrowing tale of the end of Bobby Jenks’ baseball career

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Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.

In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.

We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.

Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.

Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.

Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.