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Cooper
05-01-2009, 12:03 AM
Soria is available for the weekend series in Minnesota


KANSAS CITY -- Royals closer Joakim Soria is expected to return to duty this weekend in a three-game series at Minnesota.

"I'd say we'll have him back for the Minnesota series," manager Trey Hillman said after the Royals' victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday. "That's what I'm hopeful of."

Soria has not pitched since April 22 at Cleveland because of stiffness in the back of his right shoulder.

"If he said that, all right then, that's means I'm right," Soria said upon hearing Hillman's remark. "I feel all right."

Soria would not say flatly that he'd be ready to go by Friday night at the Metrodome, but he smiled and sounded optimistic.

"We'll see how I feel tomorrow," he said. "It's pretty well gone now."

The shoulder problem first cropped up on April 18 while he was warming up at Texas and he pitched just once after that, getting his fifth save against the Indians on April 22. He wasn't used the next day at Cleveland and was declared shut down on April 24 for at least three to five days.

But that ran for a full week. Oddly enough, no member of Hillman's "closer by committee" unit was needed in a save situation until Thursday against the Blue Jays. No save opportunity cropped in the previous six games.

Juan Cruz was summoned from bullpen for the ninth and turned in a perfect inning, getting two popouts and ending the game with a strikeout of Aaron Hill.

It was only Cruz's second career save. His only other save came when he was with the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 21, 2002, at Pittsburgh.

"It certainly wasn't an easy save for a guy that hasn't done it often," Hillman said. "So it gives us more information when Jack's not available. Maybe he's our go-to guy until we have Jack available."

Now, at Minnesota, it appears that Jack, aka Joakim, will be available.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Sidney Ponson (0-3, 5.79 ERA)
The Royals are still trying to cautiously figure out what they have in Ponson. After lasting 3 1/3 innings and giving up six runs against Cleveland on April 21, Ponson returned to better form against Detroit in his last start. Ponson pitched eight innings and gave up three runs -- two on a homer from Brandon Inge -- but was tagged for another loss, dropping his record to 0-3. The Royals need Ponson to be a reliable innings-eater, and Hillman is confident that Ponson's slip-up in Cleveland was a mechanical problem and not the beginning of a trend. Against the Twins, Ponson is 11-3, his most wins against any club, with a 2.69 ERA. But he's just 5-7 at the Metrodome, including a 1-4 mark the one year he pitched for the Twins.

MIN: RHP Kevin Slowey (3-0, 4.44 ERA)
Slowey delivered his best performance of the season in his last start against the Indians, holding Cleveland to one run on eight hits over eight-plus innings. The right-hander carried a five-hit shutout into the ninth inning, but gave up three straight hits to the middle of the Indians order before he was replaced on the mound by Luis Ayala. Slowey finally appears to have gotten back to the form that made him so effective in Spring Training, mixing in his offspeed pitches while showing strong command of his fastball. He is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) vs. Kansas City.

Crown points
Zack Greinke, with his 5-0 record and 0.50 ERA, was named the Royals Pitcher of the Month for April. Mark Teahen was named the Royals Player of the Month after batting .300 with three homers and nine RBIs. ... Billy Butler and Mike Aviles have teamed up for the "Hit It a Ton" program with two local companies, Straub Construction and Mail Print Inc., donating the equivalent of 2,000 pounds of food for each of their home runs. The beneficiary is the Bishop Sullivan Center soup kitchen. In addition, Butler will match the donation for each of his homers. So far Butler's two homers have raised $8,000 in food and Aviles $2,000 for his one. ... Joe Nastasi of Kansas City was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Thursday. He's an active community leader and provides pro-bono legal advance to City Union Mission.

Tickets
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On the Internet
MLB.TV
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Official game notes

On television
FSKC

On radio
KCSP 610

Up next
Saturday: Royals (Brian Bannister, 2-0, 0.69) at Twins (Glen Perkins, 1-2, 2.48), 6:10 p.m. CT
Sunday: Royals (Gil Meche, 1-2, 3.77) at Twins (Scott Baker, 0-3, 9.82), 1:10 p.m. CT
Monday: Royals (Zack Greinke, 5-0, 0.50) vs. White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 2-1, 4.15), 7:10 p.m. CT

cwilson21
05-01-2009, 12:34 AM
Thanks for saving Greinke for the ChiSox.

Twinke Masta
05-01-2009, 01:11 AM
Meche, Greinke 2.0!

Cooper
05-01-2009, 11:47 AM
Perhaps its time to run off a win streak?!

Twinke Masta
05-01-2009, 12:41 PM
its time to **** on all the teams in the central (Indians not included!)

ChiefLee
05-02-2009, 07:56 AM
If the Royals really want to make a run, they're going to have to consider getting Hochevar up here to replace Ponson. It was a fine (cheap) experiment, but the Royals can't just throw away 1 out of every 5 games. They're good enough to hover around 500, but that's about it.

Twinke Masta
05-02-2009, 10:11 AM
Ponson is pretty garbage yes, and I have a GREAT feeling about Hochevar right now!!

PurpleJesus
05-02-2009, 10:59 PM
you guys have competed pretty hard all season and through these (almost) two games with us. Add in an elite pitcher, and I would like to now welcom you guys back into the division, where have you guys been the last 2 decades?

Cooper
05-03-2009, 03:39 PM
We've been building a team without spending 200 million dollars. it take a little longer, then bad decisions take longer to wear off that way. We do plan on staying strong for quite some time.

PurpleJesus
05-03-2009, 03:41 PM
We've been building a team without spending 200 million dollars. it take a little longer, then bad decisions take longer to wear off that way. We do plan on staying strong for quite some time.

you dont have to tell me about not spending money, Im a Twins fan. We have had one of the lowest payrolls in baseball for our entire exsistence.

Cooper
05-03-2009, 03:48 PM
It seems to be a common bond in the Central. Well....except maybe the Tigers, they kinda get carried away from time to time.

PurpleJesus
05-03-2009, 03:59 PM
It seems to be a common bond in the Central. Well....except maybe the Tigers, they kinda get carried away from time to time.

Tigers and White Sox spend a lot of money.