SURPRISE, Ariz. — It was just 18 pitches but, for Royals pitcher Danny Duffy, his first throws from a mound in nearly 10 months couldn’t have gone better.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“Everything I wanted,” he said. “Without a doubt. All positive.”
Duffy, 24, left a May 13 game at Chicago in the first inning because of elbow pain that was later determined to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent replacement surgery, commonly known as Tommy John surgery, on June 13 in Los Angeles.
“Mother’s Day last year,” Duffy said. “It’s been a long time. It was a lot of fun (to get on the mound again). You take a lot of things for granted in this game, and when you get back out there — even 18 pitches, all fastballs — it’s pretty sick. I had a great time.”
Barring unexpected complications, Duffy will likely throw a similar bullpen session on Friday. His recovery schedule targets a mid-July return, although Duffy said he expects to be ready at some point in June.
“I’ve thrown at 150 feet multiple times,” he said, “but this is the first time I’ve been on a mound (since surgery). Today I was throwing it through the catcher pretty well. I felt like I had been out there for a month. It was better than I expected for sure.”
Shortstop Alcides Escobar isn’t expected to arrive in camp until late Friday because of visa problems affecting his wife’s ability to come to the United States.
“He just got married,” manager Ned Yost said. “Since its Carnival time in Venezuela, the visa office will not reopen until Friday. He’s got to be there to sign for her. Then he’s catching a plane. He’ll be here Friday night.”
That means Escobar will miss the first full-squad workout.
“He’ll miss the first day,” Yost said, “but he played winter ball. He doesn’t have a lot of catching up to do … I tried to explain to him it’s Carnival time here, too.”
Escobar batted .349 with a .398 on-base percentage in 26 games for Lara in the Venezuela Winter League.
Chen opting out
Veteran lefty Bruce Chen said he can’t wait any longer to get certified to play for China in the World Baseball Classic.
“They’ve had a long time to make a decision,” he said. “I can’t provide any more documents. Today is the 12th. It’s not fair for China to keep waiting.”
Chen believed he was eligible to play for China because his grandparents emigrated from that country to his native Panama. He said the certification committee sought documents that he couldn’t provide.
“I’ve given them all of the documents (available),” he said, “but they feel like they need a little bit more. I’m trying to dig for them, but it’s hard. It was like 70 or 80 years ago.”
Chen practiced last week with the Chinese team in nearby Peoria and was scheduled to depart Feb. 24 for a round-robin tournament in Japan.
It was 25 years ago Wednesday — Feb. 13, 1988 — that the Royals acquired reliever Jeff Montgomery from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Van Snider.
At the time, Montgomery had made 14 career appearances for the Reds, while Snider had advanced as far as Class AAA Omaha in the Royals’ system.
Montgomery, now 51, pitched 12 seasons for the Royals while compiling a 3.20 ERA in 686 games and a club-record 304 saves. His 686 appearances are also a club record for pitchers.
The Royals inducted Montgomery into their Hall of Fame in 2003, four years after his retirement.
Snider got just 36 plate appearances in 19 games for the Reds in 1988-89 and had a .200 average with seven hits in 35 at-bats. He never returned to the big leagues and concluded a 15-year career in the minors in 1996 at Union Laguna in the Mexican League.
To reach Bob Dutton, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Royals_Report.