Soria encouraged by lengthy mound session

Tigers reliever throws without pain in left oblique, hopes to return soon

Soria encouraged by lengthy mound session

DETROIT -- Tigers reliever Joakim Soria could be on track for a return within the next week or so after throwing a lengthy mound session Friday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Soria threw 39 pitches by his count without any lingering pain in the strained left oblique that landed him on the disabled list four weeks ago. He had felt lingering soreness in the oblique after throwing long enough until his last bullpen session.

Now, he said, "I don't feel anything. I threw 39 pitches and everything feels good."

That was encouraging news for manager Brad Ausmus, but he wasn't ready to write in Soria for the next step.

Soria indicated the next step is to face hitters.

"Maybe we'll throw live [batting practice] Monday, and then we go from there," Soria said.

With the Minor League regular seasons over, any work with hitters is likely to happen on the side with the team rather than on a rehab assignment. The only two affiliates still playing as of Friday were Class A West Michigan, which faced a deciding Game 3 in its postseason series against Fort Wayne on Friday night, and short-season Class A Connecticut.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have enough extra hitters with expanded September rosters that they can set up a simulated game.

Soria, clearly pushing for a quick return, does not expect he'll need much time against hitters to be ready.

"It's not like [the injury] was something in my arm," he said. "My arm is still in shape. My arm feels good. It depends on how they see me in the bullpen."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.