At Royals.com, Jeffrey Flanagan reports on Jason Vargas’s return:
"It's been a pretty smooth ride as far as not having any issues or setbacks with my elbow," Vargas said. "I've just been waiting to get back out there.
"I anticipated having a good rehab. I knew that if everything went as it should, there would be a possibility I'd have an opportunity to pitch again this year."
Vargas is eager to return.
"It's what I do for a living so yes, I'm looking forward to getting back," Vargas said.
If you were worried about the insurance policy on Vargas, Rustin Dodd assuages your concerns:
Rustin Dodd informs us that Ned Yost asserts this year’s bullpen isn’t the same as last year’s:
On the whole, Yost sought to explain his bullpen predicament after Soria blew his seventh save of the season in a 5-4 loss to the A’s on Tuesday night. The defeat was a decisive blow to a club with faint playoff hopes. But Yost tried to deflect some blame away from Soria, stating that a thinner bullpen has created a lack of options and alternatives.
“In the past, we’ve had a really, really good idea with what we’re going to get coming out of the bullpen,” Yost said. “(We had) a really good idea. Last year, we knew what we were gonna get with (Greg Holland), we knew what we were gonna get with Wade (Davis), we knew what we were gonna get with (Kelvin) Herrera, and we’re in a situation now, through injuries, we’re not the same bullpen we were last year.”
The point, Yost said, was that the Royals lack the depth they once had at the back end of the bullpen, especially after losing Luke Hochevar for the season to thoracic outlet syndrome. Soria’s struggles have been well documented. But Yost suggested that the alternatives, outside of Herrera and a healthy Davis, are equally murky.
Flanagan also reports on Soria trying to clear up the “no-doubles” defense comment:
"It was never my intention to throw anyone under the bus," Soria told MLB.com. "My job isn't to say what position the defense should be in. My job is to get hitters out. I'm sorry it came out the wrong way."
Soria, who entered Thursday with seven blown saves, added that this season has been the most challenging one in his career.
"It has been a weird season and a frustrating season," Soria said. "But I know I'm a good teammate and I think my teammates know I'm there for him."
David Lesky takes the position of the optimist in light of the Royals’ squandering of an opportunity:
But let’s be real, folks. This team is done. If you were holding your calendar on October 4 for the Wild Card game, you can go ahead and make plans to get your nails done or whatever it is you crazy kids do when the season is over. Me personally? I’ll probably still watch the Wild Card game, but without the cold sweats and nervous pacing that I would have had had the Royals been in it. That right there is a victory. Speaking of victories, you may have noticed the title of this article is about looking on the bright side, and that’s just what I’m doing.
The Royals missing the playoffs isn’t all bad.
For one, think about the last two Octobers. How much sleep did you get? Maybe you’re different than me, but between the games getting over late and being way too amped up to sleep, I was working on two or three hours of sleep per night more often than is probably healthy. I’m no spring chicken anymore. I need my sleep or else I’m even more intolerable than otherwise.
So it looks like Julio Urias might be pretty, pretty, pretty good.
At the Hardball Times, Alissa Noe looks at what the Rockies do to keep their players healthy.
A podcast has to rejigger on the fly as the Jacob Wetterling case is finally solved.
If you thought Star Wars nerds wanted desperately of get any new nugget about their next favorite movie, wait until you see what true fans of something are like.
The song of the day is “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean: