The No. 41 jersey of Danny Duffy still hung inside his Yankee Stadium locker on Sunday morning. The pitcher himself departed for a doctor’s examination in Kansas City around that same time. Before he left, he relayed his optimism about his sore left shoulder to pitching coach Dave Eiland, and told him, “I feel really good about this.”
Eiland crystallized both the hope and the uncertainty of Duffy’s scheduled MRI. The team expected to receive the results sometime Sunday, but did not intend to reveal them until Monday. In the interim, Eiland explained, only speculation existed about Duffy’s condition.
“He’s the one who knows how he feels better than anybody,” Eiland said. “But the MRI will tell the whole story.”
Duffy exited his start Saturday afternoon after throwing just one pitch. He felt tightness and discomfort in his arm. He did not experience a popping sensation. The location of the injury was in the front of his shoulder, which encouraged manager Ned Yost. The symptoms of a more troubling injury, like rotator cuff damage, would manifest itself in pain from the back of his shoulder.
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Yost maintained his hope that Duffy would only miss one start. He expected Liam Hendriks to replace Duffy in the rotation. Yost guessed the injury was merely inflammation, and refused to discuss the possibility of a more serious malady.
“I’m not going to talk about that, because I don’t plan on that,” Yost said. “We’ll find out. I’m not going to get crazy before we get the MRI results. I’m not a doctor. But I think there’s a good possibility that it’s just bicep tendinitis. He’ll miss a start, and we’ll be OK.”
Duffy (8-11, 2.42 ERA) has been one of the Royals’ best pitchers this season. His presence is crucial for this offensively challenged club.
Yost compared this situation with the one the team faced with Yordano Ventura in May. Ventura left a start early because of pain in his elbow. An MRI revealed a minor injury called a valgus extension overload. He missed only one outing. Yost hoped this scenario would be similar.
“We’ll cover it,” Yost said. “You can gloom-and-doom it all you want, and make all this drama. But we’ll cover it. We did it when Ventura missed his start. That’s your mind-set. You’ve got to cover it.”
General manager Dayton Moore conceded the obvious: No injury to Duffy, a major contributor to this club, can be considered a positive. But he could not judge the severity.
“It’s never a good thing,” Moore said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the day, either. We’ve just got to wait and see.”
Butler gets another day off
With two hits in his previous 21 at-bats, Billy Butler sat out for the second game in a row on Sunday. Josh Willingham replaced him, went one for four and scored the team’s first run. He tapped a swinging bunt in the second and came around on a throwing error four batters later.
Yost said he wanted to give Butler “a day off to mentally relax a little bit,” he said. “He’s been grinding really hard.”
The Royals will play the Detroit Tigers at 3:08 p.m. Central time Monday. The reason for the afternoon game is that the Detroit Lions play the New York Giants on Monday night at Ford Field, across from Comerica Park.