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Slim chance Soria could return Sunday

Royals' Soria could return Sunday

KANSAS CITY -- Royals closer Joakim Soria zipped through a second outing in Arizona on Saturday and was headed back to Kansas City before the night's big league game.

Although the Royals have indicated that Soria will require a Minor League stint before coming off the disabled list, there remains the possibility that he could bypass that stint and return to the Royals' roster as early as Sunday.

"[I] don't know," manager Trey Hillman said. "I wouldn't rule anything out, but we're not going to know until he gets back here and we see how he recovers from what he did today."

Soria has not pitched in a Major League game since May 7 because of a right rotator cuff strain. He tested his shoulder in an intrasquad game Saturday in Surprise, Ariz., and he felt no pain.

"Good report," Hillman said. "He had 23 pitches, commanded and controlled the ball. No pain. Seven outs. Velocity was 88 to 91 [mph]. ... Pretty efficient. It was a good outing for him."

Center fielder Coco Crisp is likely to be out of the Royals' lineup until at least Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. Because of a sore right shoulder, he was not in the starting lineup Saturday against Chicago and Hillman indicated he'd also rest Crisp on Sunday.

"He's available off the bench to pinch-run, maybe pinch-bunt. Right-handed swinging doesn't bother him as bad," Hillman said. "I don't want him to throw."

In fact, Hillman told Crisp he'd fine him if he saw him throwing overhand. He last played Tuesday night, when he left the game after four innings.

Shortstop Tony Pena Jr., recovering from hand surgery, played in the same Arizona game in which Soria pitched and also reported no problems. He's been out since May 2.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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