Opinion

Royals’ Danny Duffy to skip Saturday start, pitch Tuesday in New York

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) throws in the first inning during Saturday's baseball game against the New York Yankees on May 16, 2015 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) throws in the first inning during Saturday's baseball game against the New York Yankees on May 16, 2015 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Danny Duffy, who will miss Saturday’s start against the Cardinals because of shoulder stiffness, wanted to keep his normal spot in the rotation as much for his teammates as himself.

“I know nobody feels this way, but in a way I feel like I’m hanging other people out to dry,” Duffy said. “They have to pitch on their normal day and we had a day off.”

With that Thursday off day, those who move up a day will pitch on regular rest instead of getting an extra day, starting with Edinson Volquez, who now gets the Saturday start.

Yordano Ventura, set to go in the series opener at New York on Monday, shifts to Sunday and the Monday start against the Yankees now goes to Jeremy Guthrie, with Duffy expected to make the Tuesday start.

But Royals manager Ned Yost would rather have Duffy err on the side of caution, especially because Duffy’s final month and the postseason in 2014 was abbreviated by a shoulder injury.

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost says that the Danny Duffy will skip his next start due to shoulder stiffness and pitcher Jason Vargas threw a simulated game today.

Duffy, who led the Royals in ERA last season, threw one pitch in a Sept. 6 start at Yankee Stadium before leaving because of a stiff shoulder. His missed his next two starts and made only three appearances in the playoffs, all in relief.

“He battled through this for six weeks last year,” Yost said. “He’s smart enough to know that if the opportunity presents itself, with an off day that doesn’t affect the starting rotation, take the extra days so you don’t have to battle through it for six weeks this year.”

Asked his level of concern, Yost said “not very.”

Duffy said he noticed the problem after throwing two days earlier, calling his shoulder “stale.” After throwing a side session on Thursday the stiffness remained.

“It just kind of grabbed a little bit,” Duffy said. “Like I needed a little WD 40.”

As much as he didn’t want to, Duffy said missing the start is the right call.

“I’ve learned that if you pitch through something, nine out of 10 times it gets worse,” Duffy said. “I had to battle something (last season) for a long time. That’s the last thing I want to do.

“I don’t foresee that this is something that’s going to be chronic.”

Duffy is seeking a bounce back effort after three unsatisfying starts in which he is 0-3 with a 13.03 ERA. In 9 2/3 innings, Duffy has surrendered 15 hits and walked 10.

The stretch followed a promising start. When Duffy departed the game after seven innings against the Tigers on April 30 and was well on his way to improving to 2-0 and his ERA has lowered to 3.45.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.

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