Hillman covered up Soria injury to protect the team

After the TV cameras and microphones went off on Friday afternoon, I asked manager Trey Hillman about the Royals’ decision to keep Joakim Soria’s injury under cover.

“So you didn’t tell us because you didn’t want the other teams to know, basically?”

“Correct,” he responded and then asked to go off the record. Therefore I cannot tell you what he said.

Yet it’s interesting that he could have taken that opportunity to publicly further justify the decision, amplifying his on-record remarks about keeping Soria’s shoulder stiffness secret so the Royals’ opponents would not know he was unavailable to pitch. But he did not, in effect sticking his chin out and letting the critics take a punch if they wanted.

The Royals did not believe Soria’s stiffness was severe enough for him to go on the disabled list but they did not want the Rangers and then the Indians to know he might not be ready to pitch, thereby allowing the enemy to plan accordingly. So Hillman did not use Soria’s problem as a reason, for example, of going with Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth inning when he gave up the game-ending homer to Texas’ Michael Young. Or to explain why Soria had not pitched over a six-game, eight-day stretch.

Hillman was willing to take the bullets for hiding the injury because in doing so, he felt he was doing the best thing for the Royals. He played tricks with the truth, certainly, but I really can’t censure him for that. Why tip off the opposition that your premier closer is unavailable?

–Dick Kaegel
 

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