Royals Q&A with Dutton: Expectations for Duffy, Hosmer

It was a busy first day Tuesday when the Royals opened official workouts for pitchers and catchers.

Lefty Danny Duffy threw from a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery – and all went well. Plans call for him to throw again from a mound on Friday.

The Royals completed their big Dec. 9 trade with Tampa Bay by acquiring utilityman Elliot Johnson as the player to be named later.

The club cleared space for Johnson on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Felipe Paulino on the 60-day disabled list. It’s effectively a clerical move because Paulino can be reinstated May 30 but isn’t expected to be game-ready in his recovery from Tommy John surgery until mid-July.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar notified the Royals that he’s having trouble getting a visa for his new wife – he just got married – because Carnival in Venezuela shut down the government offices. Escobar is expected to arrive late Friday, which means he’ll miss one day of full-squad workouts.

Veteran lefty Bruce Chen tired of waiting to be certified as eligible to play for China in the World Baseball Classic. His grandparents emigrated from China to Panama, which should make him eligible, but finding the necessary documents has been troublesome.

A question in an earlier exchange asked whether the Royals would have their pitchers taking batting practice from the start of camp because of early-season interleague. I responded I didn’t think so – and was wrong.

The Royals had half of their staff trying to put down bunts as part of Tuesday’s workouts. (The other half was throwing live batting practice, which means hitters are in the box.) The two halves will reverse roles today.

Saw the snark factor escalated sharply Tuesday on Twitter. Many folks seem to question Luke Hochevar’s belief that he found a correctable flaw in his delivery while studying tape in the offseason.

Let’s see what today brings:

@ARSON911: July 1, we are 1GB of Det. Do we trade r top 2 or 3 prospects left to get what ails us at time?

Think that’s exactly what the Royals would like to do.

@RonnieHSHOW: Is Elliot Johnson going to be seriously considered for a role on this team?

Getting a guy with no options suggests the Royals think he’s a good fit on their 25-man roster.

@DrYetiCarella: two words: Kyle Lohse???

One more: Unlikely.

@hmmtledzep: Who would the next couple of OF be after the starting 3?

My Feb. 13 guess is Jarrod Dyson with Elliot Johnson drawing some time.

@hotzpur: this makes you think they don’t have confidence that Tejada will make the team?

Assume you mean the move to get Johnson from the Rays. I don’t think so. I can easily see Johnson and Miguel Tejada making the 25-man roster. But let’s see them both play a bit. Neither is an absolute lock.

@JGuarino24: what’s your expectation of Duffy this yr? Will he be apart of rotation at some point?

Have no reason to doubt the Royals when they say they expect him to be game-ready by the All-Star break. Where he fits is, at this point, anybody’s guess.

@kcshowtime96: can he handle short if Escobar goes down?

Another Johnson question, I assume. I think he’s probably the best alternative on the 40-man roster, but Christian Colón still seems a better defensive fit if Escobar needs to miss more than a few days.

@JeremyHoladay: what’s the deal with the early Philly inter-league trip?

The shift by Houston to the American League West means there are 15 teams in each league. That means at least one interleague series must take place on any day for all 30 teams to be in action.

@jasohoward: I thought PTBNL could not be on TB 40 man roster. What gives?

It’s a technical point, and I checked with Royals assistant general manager Dean Taylor. The restriction is the player can’t be on an active roster during the period from the original trade to its conclusion. There are no active rosters in the off-season.

@mdsportsguy: were royals in on bourn?

See what he signed for? (Four years for $48 million from Cleveland with a vesting option for another $12 million in the fifth year if he gets 550 plate appearances in the fourth year.) Don’t think so.

@michaelengel: Haven’t heard otherwise, so safe to assume that Hosmer’s rotator cuff tear is fully healed and no immediate concern?

Checked with Hosmer, and he says it’s fully healed.

To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.