From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Royals closer Joakim Soria’s elbow pain from last week has now been confirmed as ulnar collateral ligament damage to his right elbow, after a second consultation with Dr. Lewis Yocum. Soria previously had Tommy John surgery while in the minor leagues with the Dodgers organization in 2003. He will likely require a second Tommy John procedure, ending his season and placing his career as a Royal in doubt.
Soria is under a contract where the Royals have club options for 8 million and 8.75 million in 2013 and 2014. There was some optimism that the Royals could move toward a winning record in 2012 with a young core of hitters that included Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Catcher Salvador Perez is already out with a meniscus tear, casting a cloud on the early part of spring training.
Aaron Crow, who closed at times last year, is competing for a starting spot in 2012, but could move into the role if the team doesn’t have him start. The team also signed Jonathan Broxton in the offseason and he will likely be option A to replace Soria at the back end of the bullpen.