On the disabled list since late August, Royals starter Danny Duffy said Monday that the lingering discomfort in his left arm may need to be addressed in the offseason.
“It’s not ever going to go away until I take care of it,” Duffy said. “I just got to push through to the end of the season.”
Duffy was diagnosed with a “low grade pronator strain” in late August after pitching through discomfort for four to five starts. He has spent the last two weeks resting and rehabbing in an attempt to return this month.
In an interview Monday, he offered some insight into the injury. Something is causing inflammation near his elbow, he said. He remains confident that pitching through pain this month would not put his elbow, including the ulnar collateral ligament, in any danger.
“I have what I have,” he said. “It’s something that is inflaming something in there. So we’ll get it looked at when we need to. But until then, right now, I could go. Nothing in my elbow is going to compromise my ligament. You also have to go forward knowing that you could re-aggravate the original injury.”
The comments came Monday afternoon, minutes after Duffy concluded a three-inning simulated game on the field at Kauffman Stadium. He threw 46 pitches while facing a collection of hitters that included Raul Mondesi, Jorge Bonifacio and Drew Butera.
Duffy reported that his arm “felt really good”.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Duffy would not throw another simulated game before returning to the mound, which means he could be activated and start as soon as this weekend in Cleveland.
“He’ll be ready to go 60 or 65 (pitches),” Yost said. “We’re running out of time here.”
The Royals (71-71) sat 2 1/2 games out of an American League wild-card spot as they opened a series Monday against the Chicago White Sox. And the starting rotation continues to be beset by injuries. Ian Kennedy, who is battling rotator-cuff fatigue, will miss his scheduled start Wednesday. Rookie Eric Skoglund will likely fill in.
The Royals have toyed with the idea of using a six-man rotation when Duffy returns. The plan, Yost said, could offer extra rest to Duffy, Kennedy and Jason Vargas during the season’s final weeks. For Duffy, the additional day off between starts could help him manage the pain.
“Everybody has something going on,” Duffy said. “If I could tolerate the pain, I’m going to.”
Duffy remained somewhat cryptic about the nature of his elbow issues. He has undergone Tommy John surgery once before and has a surgically reconstructed ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm. For now, though, the Royals do not believe the integrity of Duffy’s elbow is any danger. An MRI in late August revealed that Duffy’s ligament was the same as it was last offseason, when he signed a five-year, $65 million extension.
It remains unclear whether Duffy might require some sort of surgical procedure in the offseason to clean out his elbow. He said on Monday that he has battled the current issue for “two, three years.”
“It just came back,” he said. “We wanted to take care of it last offseason. But I felt good enough to go. Sure enough, it flared up. I need to address it at some point.”