Joakim Soria Loses Kansas City Royals' Closer Job

Maybe he should have kept his nickname.

Joakim Soria, who blew three save chances in a week, has lost his job as Kansas City's closer.

Soria, who has been the Royals' closer since halfway through his rookie season in 2007, allowed three runs and four hits, including a two-run homer by Torii Hunter, in a 10-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

Manager Ned Yost has been standing by Soria, but after his latest debacle, said he would use rookie Aaron Crow, who has a 1.33 ERA in 22 appearances, as his closer "for the time being."

"We've gotten to a point where we'll back Jack off," Yost said. "We'll give him a break, with a sense of getting him back to the closer's role, but getting him in situations where maybe he can throw multiple-innings in less pressure situations.

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"He had a rough road trip. I wanted to give him one more opportunity. I take full responsibility. That was my decision. That's not Jack's fault. That's my fault. I'm the manager and make those pitching decisions. I wanted to give Jack another opportunity to see if he could go out and get over the hump."

Soria, who blew a save Sunday at Texas, has one save in five opportunities in May. He failed to hold an 8-7 lead.

"It gets to a point now where if I continue to try to do that, it gets detrimental to not only our team, but to Jack, too," Yost said. "It's time to step up and make a change and let him take a step back, get himself together and then take over that closer's role sometime in the near future."

Soria (3-3) saved 43 games in 46 opportunities last season and has been an All-Star two of the past three years. He has a 6.55 ERA after blowing five saves in 12 opportunities this season. He had never blown more than three saves in any previous year.

"It's the right time to do it," Soria said. "Where I close games, I don't want to be part of this losing streak. The team is playing really good and they need a man that can go out after them. Right now, obviously, I don't' want to lose games. I give my 100 percent every time, but it's not as good as we want.

"I think it's the right way to do it. I try to build up, try to work hard and I try to work back on my confidence and try to be the one that I was before. I know I can do this. I'm the type of person who never gives up. This is not a give up. This is the time to take a break. And try to figure out what's going on."

Soria made news in February when he decided to drop the nickname the "Mexicutioner" to support an end to the violence in his native Mexico.

"how about if we change my nickname to something positive?" Soria tweeted at the time. "In support to Mexico to stop all the violence !!!"

As for yesterday's game, Hunter declined to say if he noticed any difference in Soria.

"I think he's still good," he said. "He's still sneaky, still deceptive."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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