Bruce Chen pitches off mound, but return date to Royals still uncertain

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05/15/2014 12:01 AM

05/16/2014 3:10 PM

For the first time since landing on the disabled list two weeks ago, Royals pitcher Bruce Chen threw off a mound on Wednesday morning. He made 16 pitches, and threw 100 percent on one of them, he said.

Chen is battling the lingering affects of a bulging disk in his lower back that was irritating a nerve. The injury sent sparks of pain down his left leg. He still feels tightness during his delivery.

He will need to embark on a rehabilitation assignment before he can rejoin the big-league club. That may still be a week or more away.

“That wasn’t really a side (session), Chen said. “Once I throw a couple sides, and everything goes well, then maybe we can start thinking about what’s the next step.”

Danny Duffy inherited Chen’s place in the rotation. He has given up two runs in two outings thus far. He will start again on Saturday against Baltimore. Duffy is available for Wednesday’s game only in “emergency” duty, manager Ned Yost said.

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