Danny Duffy remained unfazed and encouraged after an unremarkable spring debut against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday afternoon.
The final line included two earned runs allowed in 1 2/3 innings, and a no-doubt homer by Brewers shortstop Yadiel Rivera. The performance, which came in the Royals’ 6-3 victory over Milwaukee, still represented progress, Duffy said.
“I felt great,” Duffy said. “My mechanics were just kind of a tick off.”
Duffy said he tried to incorporate his slide-step and focused on his change-up. The former threw off his timing and the latter left him using the change-up in some unusual counts. On the whole, though, Duffy said he was not discouraged by the effort. He reached his pitch count. His arm felt good. On to the next one.
“My side sessions have been really, really good,” Duffy said. “And this early they normally aren’t, and you just got to translate that in-between the lines. It felt good, though. I want to continue to progress with this.”
Duffy was making his first appearance since signing a five-year, $65 million contract extension in the offseason. The deal came on the heels of his best season, a campaign that featured a 3.51 ERA and career highs in innings (179 2/3 ) and strikeouts (188).
Duffy is now set to make another appearance for the Royals (3-1 in the Cactus League) before departing to compete in the World Baseball Classic on March 9. On Tuesday, Duffy said he was scheduled to make one appearance for Team USA before returning to the Royals to finish his preparation for the 2017 season.
For Duffy, the final tune-up before the WBC will also offer the opportunity to iron out some rough edges.
“It’s an easy fix, man,” Duffy said. “It’s going to be fine.”
After Duffy exited, the Royals received a slew of strong relief outings. Left-hander Matt Strahm allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Right-handers Peter Moylan, Kevin McCarthy, Yender Caramo and left-hander Eric Stout also logged scoreless innings.
Moylan, a non-roster invitee who is set to depart camp to play for Australia in the World Baseball Classic, has already logged two scoreless appearances in four games.
Alex Gordon made a rare start in right field and continued his fast start, finishing 1 for 2 with a walk. Gordon is batting .429 (3 for 7) in a limited sample size.
With Gordon in right, that opened up left field for outfielder Jorge Soler, who finished 0 for 3 and is still hitless this spring.
Mike Moustakas was 0 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter and is still searching for his first hit.
The young guys
The Royals’ Irish contingent did most of the damage Tuesday. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn, one of the Royals’ top position prospects, gave Kansas City a 3-2 lead with a solo homer in the sixth. Peter O’Brien subbed for O’Hearn at first base and crushed his third homer in four games, a towering shot to center field. O’Brien is hitting .375 (3 for 8) with three homers and six RBIs in four games.
Outfielder Terrance Gore also chipped in with a rare double through the hole at shortstop, sparking a three-run rally in the eighth inning. It came in Gore’s first at-bat of the spring. Hunter Dozier, who relieved Cheslor Cuthbert at third base, scored Gore with an RBI single.