Royals manager Ned Yost remained cautiously optimistic on Sunday as he revealed that Danny Duffy’s MRI on his injured left elbow showed no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament.
Duffy was diagnosed with a “very low grade pronator strain” in the muscles near the elbow, Yost said, a result of a valgus extension overload he sustained in recent weeks. The club is still hopeful he could miss just one start.
“Nothing serious,” Yost said. “His MRI was completely the same as before we signed him to his long-term contract, which means there was no change.”
In a worst-case scenario, Yost said Duffy could miss up to three weeks. On Sunday, left-hander Eric Skoglund started in his place in a series finale against the Indians at Progressive Field. Duffy’s stint on the 10-day disabled list is retroactive to Aug. 23, meaning he would be eligible to return on Sept. 2. The Royals have a day off on Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip in Minnesota, which means that they would not need a fifth starter again until Sept. 5 in Detroit. In that scenario, they could survive with a rotation of Jason Vargas, Jason Hammel, Ian Kennedy and Jakob Junis until Duffy returns.
“We’ll see,” Yost said, when asked if Duffy could miss just one start. “I’m hoping.”
On Saturday, the club’s official diagnosis was a left elbow impingement/valgus extension overload as Duffy headed to the disabled list. The issue occurs when the bones inside the elbow collide during the delivery of a fastball, causing soreness in the elbow and forearm.
Duffy also has a history of elbow problems. He underwent Tommy John surgery after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in June 2012 and missed 14 months, returning to a major-league mound in August 2013. But his MRI on Saturday, which took place in Kansas City, confirmed the club’s belief that Duffy’s elbow remains structurally sound.