Royals pitcher Danny Duffy is returning to a big-league mound.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
For one night, anyway.
Duffy will start against the Twins on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals announced before Tuesday's game. He will officially be recalled Wednesday from Class AAA Omaha to take Wade Davis' spot in the rotation. Davis is away from the team following the death of his stepbrother, Dustin Huguley, who died in Florida on Saturday after collapsing at a softball game.
Once viewed as the club's most advanced pitching prospect, Duffy will make his first major league start since undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery last June.
"I feel stronger than I've ever felt," said Duffy, who returned to the Royals clubhouse Tuesday. "It takes a little more to maintain between starts, but I don't feel soreness, and it's the first time I could say that since I was 17. It's all going really well. The elbow is really good."
Royals manager Ned Yost indicated Duffy's stay with the major league team would likely be a short one. Asked if Duffy would stick around beyond one start, Yost responded, "Probably not."
He replaces Davis, who has a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts this season.
"We want to see where he's at," Yost said. "He's throwing (well) in Triple-A. We thought it would be a good opportunity to gauge where he's at in his comeback."
Duffy, 24, who will be pitching on regular four days rest, compiled a 3-0 record with a 4.21 earned run average in 10 appearances in Omaha, eight of them starts. He has thrown particularly well as of late, allowing one run or fewer in five of his past six outings.
"(My stuff) is better than it's ever been," Duffy said. "My curveball, I'm adding and subtracting to it. I don't want to give away too much, but it's been really good. My fastball is jumping. And I don't feel pain. That's the biggest thing."
The start Wednesday will mark his first appearance with the Royals since May 13, 2012, when he was removed after facing only three batters. He had Tommy John surgery a month later.
The elbow injury occurred just as Duffy appeared to be turning a corner. He was rated as the No. 68 prospect in Baseball America's annual rankings prior to the 2011 season, his rookie year, but he struggled to the tune of a 5.64 ERA over 20 starts.
His progress improved in 2012, when he had a 3.90 ERA in six starts covering 27 2/3 innings before the injury.
Luis Mendoza replaced Duffy in the rotation and finished 6-8 with a 4.12 earned run average as a starter.
"It's been long. It hasn't been (a route) most people take in the way that I took it," said Duffy, who has used Twitter to keep fans in the loop on his recovery. "But we got here, and that's that matters. I'm proud to say I'm part of this team."
He returns to a team that has won 12 of its past 13 games. The Royals entered play Tuesday four games out of the second wild card spot.
"I'm going to try to fit in wherever I can," Duffy said. "I feel great about what the team's been doing. It's been so fun to watch. Up until I got to Omaha, I'd watch every game. I've been keeping tabs. The guys do a great job to make me feel included."