Soria, Duffy can look to Chen for inspiration

Soria, Duffy can look to Chen for inspiration

Soria, Duffy can look to Chen for inspiration
ARLINGTON -- Royals closer Joakim Soria already has had Tommy John surgery this year and starter Danny Duffy apparently is headed in that direction. If they need inspiration about recovering from the reconstructive elbow surgery, they can look no further than teammate Bruce Chen.

Chen, 35, underwent the surgery after the 2007 season, missed '08 and by '09 was back in the Major Leagues. In 2010 and '11, he led the Royals in victories with 12 in each year and he's still going. "It's hard because you know you're going to miss at least a year," Chen said. "Some people take 12 months; sometimes to be where you were before, it takes 12-18 months.

"Soria and Duffy are very hard workers, so I have complete confidence that they're going to come back. And the medical staff here is very good, so I think they're in good hands. The bad part is we're going to miss them for at least a year, but the good part is they're going to come back the same, or better."

Chen testifies that he's better than he was pre-surgery.

"Oh, definitely," Chen said. "I feel like I'm stronger. Because of all the things that happened I learned more about my body, how to prepare myself, how to do preventive maintenance and ... how to be smart about [your training program]."

Duffy will obtain a second opinion, but with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he's a likely candidate for the procedure.

In addition to Soria and Duffy, the Royals currently are dealing with the absences of catcher Salvador Perez, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt. Also on the disabled list are reliever Blake Wood and catcher Manny Pina. Pitchers Felipe Paulino and Greg Holland have been on and off the DL.

"Every team goes through it," manager Ned Yost said, but then he thought of an exception. "We didn't last year. We were really lucky last year."

Not this year.

"You just deal with it," Yost said. "It is what it is. You don't want it and you hope it doesn't happen, but it happens. It happens to everybody. You have to be able to adjust and move on, give somebody else an opportunity to showcase their talents."

On the DL front, Betancourt (ankle sprain) is doing light fielding work and Perez (knee surgery) has begun jogging. Yost said that Perez, projected to be back around the All-Star Game, appears to be ahead of schedule.