WASHINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington did not tip his hand before Friday's game with the Nationals. Washington said he would wait and see during batting practice if closer Joakim Soria felt good enough to be available for Friday's game.
Whatever the decision, it became moot when the Rangers lost, 9-2. Had Soria pitched, it would have been just the second time in his Major League career that he did so four straight days. The other was July 27-30, 2008, when he was with the Royals.
"I think I did it in Mexico," Soria volunteered.
That was a long time ago. No matter what Soria told his manager before the game, Washington was clearly reluctant to use his closer, or any reliever, for four straight days.
"You would think that we would stay away from him, I just don't know yet," Washington said before the game. "If not, we'll see if we can match up. A lot of it has to do with his workload. Trying to predict how a ballgame will turn out is tough."
Soria had three straight save opportunities in Minnesota. He blew one on Tuesday, his first of the year, but was successful on Wednesday and Thursday. Prior to Tuesday, Soria had just two save opportunities in May. So up until the deluge in Minnesota, his workload had been relatively light for the month.
But he has also been quite effective all year, beyond the blown save on Tuesday. Soria is one of 32 pitchers with at least five saves this season. Of that group, his 0.74 WHIP is the lowest and his .157 opposing batting average is the fourth lowest.
His effectiveness and his ability to pitch over at least three straight days reinforces the Rangers confidence that Soria completely recovered from undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in 2012.
"Oh yeah, as soon as we started in Spring Training I knew," Soria said. "I felt different. Working through all the hard work we did, I knew I was fine and my mindset is to move on now."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less