Soria returns to closer role

Soria returns to closer role

Soria returns to closer role
KANSAS CITY -- It looks like Jack is back.

One week after being demoted, Joakim Soria was reinstated as the Royals' closer. Soria pitched two clean innings in Kansas City's 3-2 extra-innings win over the Blue Jays Monday and after the game, manager Ned Yost said Soria would take over as his ninth-inning role.

"I told him after the game he's ready. That's five pretty dominant innings of relief work for him," Yost said. "I told Aaron [Crow] that he'll move back into the eighth-inning spot, and that sets our bullpen up really nice."

Yost wanted Soria to pitch in lower-pressure situations and work multiple innings until he proved he was back to his old self. After the move, Soria was dominant, essentially getting two more outs than needed, as two batters reached on throwing errors. In three appearances, he pitched five shutout innings, with no hits or walks allowed.

"I always felt good," Soria said. "I'm hitting better spots right now, I feel better in my command and that's a big key."

Crow was named closer after Soria blew a save against the Angels on May 30 but never saw a save situation. Soria gave up a two-run go-ahead home run to Torii Hunter and asked to step down from his role after the game.

That loss marked the third time in four outings Soria, a two-time All-Star, had blown a save. The right-hander is 7-for-12 this season in save opportunities after going 43-for-46 in 2010.

Yost appreciated how honest Soria was about his struggles and especially liked seeing him return to vintage form.

"He's done it with a lot of class, he's done it with a lot of dignity," Yost said. "He stepped back when he felt like he was hurting the team and he stepped back to make adjustments so that he could come back and help the team."

And Soria's excited to get back to closing games.

"Of course," Soria said. "I'm ready to help my team, to try to get saves and get wins."