Soria returns to Royals, bolstering potent bullpen

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Joakim Soria is back with the Kansas City Royals, a relative soft tosser in the bullpen of the World Series champions.

The 31-year-old right-hander was the Royals' closer from 2007-11 and averaged 93 mph with his fastball last year for Detroit and Pittsburgh. But Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Luke Hochevar all reach 95-101 mph.

''They have different weapons,'' Soria said. ''I never throw hard like these guys. My weapons are different. My command, my breaking pitches and everything is different than them. That's why I've been in the league for nine years. I had to have something to be there. Everybody has different styles to do their job.''

Soria has 202 saves, 160 of them with the Royals, and a 2.57 ERA in 444 relief appearances in the majors. He missed the 2012 season after his second Tommy John surgery and signed with Texas before the 2013 season.

''He's not the same as when he was back closing, obviously,'' Royals bullpen coach Doug Henry said. ''He knows what he's doing out there. And his stuff is still pretty good.''

Now he's back with Kansas City, agreeing to a $25 million, three-year contract.

''I haven't changed anything,'' Soria said. ''I think I'm the same pitcher, same velocity, same pitches. What is important to me is my command and my command is still there. I'm the same guy.''

Davis is interested in speaking with Soria about pitching.

''He's been fun to watch the past couple of years,'' Davis said. ''It seems like he's pretty brilliant. It will be fun to learn from him and be around him a little bit.''

NOTES: DH Kendrys Morales was absent with flu but probably will be back in camp Tuesday. . LHP Brian Flynn, who pitched only one inning last year because of a shoulder injury, struck out the side in the first inning of an intrasquad game. Paulo Orlando doubled, tripled, scored a run and drove in a run in the 3 1/2 inning contest.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.