Royals closer Joakim Soria was having a bad spring, then he said he was injured. Examinations of the injury revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Damage to the ulnar collateral ligament is usually repaired with Tommy John surgery. Soria took a little time to mull his options, and now he's decided to go ahead with the Tommy John surgery.
#Royals RHP Joakim Soria opts to undergo Tommy John surgery.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) March 23, 2012
Soria's surgery will be April 3 in Los Angeles by Dr. Lewis Yocum. Soria got three opinions before choosing to undergo the procedure.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) March 23, 2012
It's a predictable course - Soria seemed destined for elbow surgery after his first doctor visit. There's not a whole lot else you can do about this kind of thing. He'll miss the entire 2012 season, and he'll try to make it back for opening day in 2013.
Soria has had Tommy John surgery before, in 2003, on the same elbow (obviously). He recovered and had tremendous success in the major leagues, so there's reason to believe he'll be fine in time once more. This procedure isn't the huge deal that it used to be, and Soria's just 27, so he should have a long career ahead of him.
But what'll be interesting is that the Royals hold an $8 million club option for 2013. They might not be willing to guarantee $8 million to a pitcher who didn't pitch the season before. The Royals could conceivably decline that option, or they could work with Soria to try to re-structure the remainder of his contract.