SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two pitches before the end of his brief relief outing in the fifth inning on Sunday against the Indians, Royals closer Joakim Soria felt a tug in his throwing elbow. A pitch later that tug became more painful and Soria called manager Ned Yost to the mound. A moment later Soria was walking across left field to the clubhouse accompanied by a trainer.Like Blake Wood, Soria has been diagnosed with a sore right elbow. Unlike Wood, who is out for at least the next 10 to 14 days, the jury is still out on Soria, who will be re-evaluated early this week. Losing a setup man is one thing, but having your closer get hurt with a little more than two weeks to go in Spring Training has to be a major concern. "Yeah, it's a concern, there's no doubt," said Yost, whose club held on for a 6-4 win at Surprise Stadium after building a 6-0 lead against Tribe starter Josh Tomlin. "But again, we can't get crazy concerned until the doctors evaluate it and see where we're at."
Soria faced five batters, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk. Ironically, Soria pulled the plug on himself after he recorded his only out on a fielder's choice grounder hit by Shin-Soo Choo. The day was uncommonly chilly for this time of year in the desert, as showers danced around the ballpark all afternoon but never dampened one pitch.But the game-time temperature of 52 degrees and cold breeze had nothing to do with Soria's problem, Yost insisted. "Cold weather doesn't cause an elbow injury," he said. Soria, 27, had Tommy John surgery in that same elbow in 2003, but he said that this injury on Sunday didn't feel the same. Soria has appeared in 60 or more games for the Royals in four out of the past five seasons and last year had 28 saves in 35 opportunities, appearing in 60 contests. He's been an American League All-Star twice. "My elbow just felt really bad today," Soria said. "It started bothering me a little bit when I threw a curveball to Choo. That's when I felt it really bad. So the next pitch I tried to make an adjustment in my arm. I threw the fastball and it [also] felt pretty bad." Soria said the pain seemed to come out of nowhere. "I've been feeling pretty good this spring. I've been working hard," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen. I have to wait now. I have to wait to see what they've got for me." Whether there will be an MRI or any other procedure performed on the elbow will be mapped out in the days ahead. But like Yost, Soria said he has to be concerned. "Of course I'm worried," he said. "Since I had my Tommy John surgery I haven't had anything like that. I don't feel like it's that bad. Before I had the Tommy John surgery all my strength went away. This time it hasn't. Obviously [today] I was not finishing my pitches and I didn't have my command. We'll see how it feels in the next few days."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.