Notes: Soria returns from disabled list
Braun optioned to Triple-A; Sanders takes soft-toss hacks
CLEVELAND -- Royals pitcher Joakim Soria, as expected, was activated Thursday from the disabled list.
Soria went on the DL retroactive to May 23 because of inflammation of his right shoulder.
"I'm ready to go," he said.
Manager Buddy Bell said that Soria, who stepped in as closer and rang up 10 saves in April and May, will be used primarily as a setup man for Octavio Dotel.
Dotel, who came back from an oblique strain the same day that Soria felt his injury, recorded saves in his first two opportunities. Dotel had to dodge a mess in each chance, however.
As a precaution, Soria probably will not be used in back-to-back games for a while.
To make room for Soria, right-hander Ryan Braun was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. Braun was in his second stay with the Royals; in three games, he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Bell, however, saw an improvement in Braun over his first stint in which he had control problems and issued eight walks in 9 1/3 innings.
"Everything was more in one piece," Bell said. "He threw more strikes, obviously."
Braun opened the season with the Royals and pitched in seven games but, according to Bell, he admitted not being completely healthy during that period.
"He said his back was sore and he wasn't himself," Bell said.
With Omaha, Braun is likely to get save opportunities but Bell wants him to make more than one-inning appearances because his Major League future seems to be in middle relief.
Sanders report: Outfielder Reggie Sanders, on the DL since May 3 with a left hamstring tear, has been swinging at the soft-toss deliveries of hitting coach Mike Barnett.
However, he hasn't yet started jogging or taking full-bore batting practice in the cages. Those activities might come when he returns to Kansas City with the team.
When might he return to action?
"I don't want to set a date," Sanders said, smiling, "because then you might hold me to it."
He was hitting .367 in 16 games before being hurt.
Bunts: On June 7, 1986, the Royals inducted the first two members of their Hall of Fame, outfielder Amos Otis and pitcher Steve Busby. Otis, a five-time All-Star, was with the Royals for 14 years. Busby pitched no-hitters in each of his first two seasons. ... When Brian Bannister and the bullpen held the Indians without a homer on Wednesday night, it marked the first time in 15 games that a Royals opponent had not cleared the fences. ... With right-hander Fausto Carmona starting for the Tribe on Thursday, left-handed-hitting Alex Gordon played first base instead of Ryan Shealy. Gordon was 2-for-3 against Carmona earlier this year.
Royals rundown: Triple-A Omaha had Wednesday off before leaving on a 15-game trip to clear its stadium for the College World Series. ... Double-A Wichita left fielder Chris Lubanski had two hits and boosted his average to .281 in a 5-3 loss to Arkansas. ... Class A Wilmington's Rowdy Hardy was banged around for the first time, giving up five runs on 11 hits in a 6-4 loss to Kinston. Hardy's record is 6-1.
Coming up: The Royals return to Interleague Play against the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Scott Elarton (1-2, 7.36 ERA) will be matched against Phils righty Freddy Garcia (1-4, 5.11 ERA).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.