NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Joakim Soria can’t wait to get back on the mound. And he can’t wait to win.
The injured reliever and the Texas Rangers finalized their $8 million, two-year contract on Tuesday.
A two-time All-Star with Kansas City, Soria is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on April 3. The 28-year-old right-hander also had the ligament replaced in 2003.
“Texas is a really good team,” Soria said during a conference call. “I believe we can win the World Series. That’s one of the main reasons I chose Texas.”
Soria will be a setup man for Joe Nathan with the Rangers, who won consecutive AL pennants in 2010 and 2011 before losing the AL wild-card game this year. Texas also appealed to Soria because its spring training camp is in Arizona, where he has a home.
“He had opportunities. He could have gone somewhere else and closed,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “The fact that he was willing to come here and set up speaks in volumes.”
Before becoming a free agent, Soria spoke with the Royals, his team since Kansas City took him from San Diego at the 2006 winter meeting draft.
“The offer was not even close to what I was looking for,” he said.
Soria’s deal includes a team option for 2015.
“He got a great review on his physical today,” Daniels said. “Obviously, he’s eight months off of surgery. He’s still got a ways to go to get back, but pretty much it was as good a review as it possibly could have been. He’s throwing out to 105 feet, and he’s still got a throwing progression before he gets up on the mound. But he’s put on some good weight during his rehab. He’s working out in physiotherapy in Phoenix and an aggressive projection is possibly being back in May. We’re encouraging him to take it slow and get it right, because when he’s right he’s such an impactful piece in the ‘pen.”
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