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Tigers bolster bullpen with Soria trade

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 23 2014 11:36:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2014 12:19:33 PM CDT
Joakim Soria, Texas Rangers, September 2013

Mike Stone/Reuters

NEW YORK -

During rain delays, down time in the clubhouse can be occupied by card games, watching television or eating.

Joakim Soria experienced a one-hour, 49-minute rain delay in the Texas Rangers' 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night that he surely won't forget. The reliever found out that he was headed to the Detroit Tigers in a trade for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.

"This is different," Soria said with a laugh.

During the delay, Soria confirmed the news of his trade with various members of the Texas front office.

"They told me that it was done," Soria said.

The deal came less than 24 hours after Soria blew his second save with the Rangers, who took a chance on him after Tommy John surgery ended his time with the Kansas City Royals. He is in the second-year of an $8 million deal and has a 2.70 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.1 walks per nine.

"I'm very grateful to this organization," Soria said. "They helped me a lot when I was hurt. They picked me up and they gave me a chance to come back and be a major league pitcher again. I'm grateful to them and I wish them the best. I hope that this trade helps them in the future."

Soria's name was mentioned in trade rumors for the past few weeks.

"It was nothing that I can't control," Soria said. "So I didn't put too much attention to it. Now that it happened, I need to send the little things home and that's the tough part."

With veteran Joe Nathan struggling as the Tigers' closer this season, the 30-year-old Soria could take over ninth-inning responsibilties for the American League Central leaders.

The 20-year-old Thompson, a second-round draft pick in 2012, has a 10-9 record with a 2.96 ERA in 200 2/3 career innings split between rookie ball, Class A and Double-A. He will be sent to Double-A Frisco.

Knebel was drafted in the first round (39th overall) in 2013 and has a 6-2 record and a 1.26 ERA in 64 1/3 innings in the minor leagues. The 22-year-old former University of Texas pitcher is a combined 4-1 for Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo this year. The Rangers will assign Knebel to Triple-A Round Rock.

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