When the Texas Rangers signed former all-star closer Joakim Soria to a multi-year deal in the off-season, it was with the thought that the former Kansas City Royals closer, who has multiple seasons of 40-plus saves under his belt, would be ready to roll by May.
Then May became June, and June became July, and Soria was still not back pitching the Rangers after undergoing Tommy John surgery that had him out of the game for nearly two full years, as his last big-league appearance came on Sept. 11, 2011.
Soria made his return to the bigs on Sunday and was stellar, turning in an efficient 1-2-3 sixth inning against the Houston Astros throwing just 11 pitches and he was all smiles as he returned to the dugout and met catcher A.J. Pierzynski for a hardy handshake at the dugout steps — same with manager Ron Washington.
To rehab as long as he did, to stay on target as he did, it had to be a special moment to get back on a major league mound,’’ Washington told reporters after the game. “I’ve seen him like that before."
Washington had to be extra-happy with Soria's outing as it showed the skipper might be able to rely on Soria in pressure situations late in ballgames and take some of the pressure off relievers Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross and Neal Cotts, who all had rough homestands and have been relentlessly overworked through the season's first half.