Danny Duffy will rejoin the Royals five days ahead of schedule, as the team has selected him to start on Wednesday night in Seattle. Duffy inherits the rotation spot vacated by Yordano Ventura, who is on the disabled list due to irritation of the ulnar nerve in his right elbow.
When Duffy, 2-3, 5.87 ERA, began a rehabilitation assignment earlier this month, as he rebuilt arm strength in his once-inflamed left shoulder, manager Ned Yost indicated he would not bring Duffy back until he had reached a 100-pitch threshold. Duffy threw 65 in his last outing for Class AAA Omaha, and can throw 85 to 90 against the Mariners. The events of the last two weeks accelerated Duffy’s timeline.
“Considering the circumstances — we’ve got three of our starters out — he’s a good option for us,” Yost said before Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
Duffy has been here with the team since he pitched on Wednesday for the Storm Chasers. He has been tinkering with a revamped delivery, which features him bringing his hands above his head before breaking toward the plate, and which he hopes will cure his lack of command.
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He also stressed he no longer feels discomfort in his shoulder. Duffy dealt with a similar condition for three months in 2014.
“In terms of health, I feel great,” Duffy said. “I’m not fatigued at the end of the fourth (inning) like I was my first rehab start. I think I’m ready in every aspect of the word, every aspect of my game. That’s how I feel right now. Now is a better time than ever. I’m really excited to get back out there and do my part. Because it’s been a while since I’ve done my part.”
Duffy has not pitched for the Royals since May 16. In his last three outings before the team disabled him, he surrendered 14 runs in 9 2/3 innings. His delivery was erratic, which lead to a lack of control.
So he altered his mechanics, based on study of reliever Wade Davis, who is revered by his teammates for his ability to repeat his delivery. Now Duffy will attempt to mimic Davis and reclaim the form he displayed in 2014, when he finished the season with a 2.55 ERA as a starter.
“I’m excited to get back out there and have another opportunity to really show what I can do,” Duffy said. “Because I know what I can do. Everybody does know what I can do. It’s about doing it. Not talking about it. Just making it happen.”