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Lat pain may send Soria to disabled list

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Royals reliever Joakim Soria may be heading to the disabled list.

Before Wednesday's game in Oakland, manager Ned Yost said the right-hander has been dealing with lower lat pain that could potentially be an intercostal strain. Soria will get an MRI back in Kansas City Thursday, and Yost admitted that a DL stint is "probably a possibility."

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OAKLAND -- Royals reliever Joakim Soria may be heading to the disabled list.

Before Wednesday's game in Oakland, manager Ned Yost said the right-hander has been dealing with lower lat pain that could potentially be an intercostal strain. Soria will get an MRI back in Kansas City Thursday, and Yost admitted that a DL stint is "probably a possibility."

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Soria gave up four straight two-strike hits to start the eighth inning Tuesday night, the beginning of a six-run frame that led to a 10-8 loss to the Athletics. Soria got a strikeout before getting pulled, and ended up being charged with four runs.

Yost said that, after dealing with moderate pain for at least two weeks, it really flared up Tuesday and has persisted into Wednesday morning.

"Last night, it really affected him trying to execute his changeup," Yost said.

All four of Oakland's hits came when Soria threw what has been his signature offspeed pitch this season. He's thrown his changeup 31.7 percent of the time and is getting strikeouts 34 percent of the time with the pitch.

Despite dealing with the pain, three of Soria's four appearances in August before Tuesday were 1-2-3 innings. On the season, Soria is 4-3 in 53 games with a 3.96 ERA in 50 innings.

Tuesday night's struggles were another example of how quickly things have turned for the Royals bullpen. After posting an MLB-best 2.00 ERA in 94 1/3 innings in July, the Kansas City bullpen has allowed 36 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings in August and has the second-worst ERA in baseball at 6.94.

While Yost can't explain what's been the difference between July and August, he's seen things like this play out before, especially around this point of the season.

"It's baseball. It happens. Guys go through ups, guys go through downs," Yost said. "It's just like I can't explain how we couldn't score a run in April, and now we're swinging the bats great. It's just part of the ups and downs of the game.

"This time of year, everybody's dealing with something. A lot of times, you don't have any idea what it is, but you just keep battling."

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area who covered the Royals on Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Kansas City Royals, Joakim Soria