The Royals are proceeding with a bit of caution with pitcher Danny Duffy, who will miss his turn in the rotation today and throw a simulated game instead.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Duffy’s next start will be in the series opener on Sept. 22 at Cleveland.
“It makes sure he’s mentally and physically ready for his next start,” Yost said Monday before the Royals opened a series against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Duffy has been out since throwing a pitch against the Yankees on Sept. 6 in New York. He was diagnosed with rotator-cuff inflammation.
He threw a light bullpen session Sunday, about 20 pitches, and declared himself fit.
“I feel great physically, everything is holding up fine,” Duffy said. “Everything was coming out with a lot of life, if not more life than normal.”
Liam Hendriks will get his second start in Duffy’s place. He took over for Duffy in New York and surrendered four runs, three earned, in four innings in taking the loss.
Hendriks started last week against the Red Sox and gave up three runs, two earned, in 2 1/3 innings.
The efforts stood in contrast to Hendriks’ first start for the Royals, who acquired him and catcher Erik Kratz from Toronto for Danny Valencia. He went seven innings and got the victory as the Royals won 6-1.
Yost said Monday that he would be more inclined to use relief specialists Kelvin Herrera or Wade Davis in longer stints.
“Probably from here on out,” Yost said.
The question was prompted by Sunday’s decision not to use Herrera or Davis to pitch in the sixth. Aaron Crow relieved starter Jason Vargas with one out. Crow walked Yoenis Cespedes, loading the bases, and then struck out Allen Craig. But Daniel Nava blasted a grand slam and the Red Sox won 8-4.
After the game, Yost said he reserves the sixth inning for Crow, the seventh for Herrera, the eighth for Davis and Greg Holland closing in the ninth, and the pattern has worked.
“We’ve used this recipe all year long and have been very successful,” Yost said. “Yesterday, it didn’t work.”
Now that the Royals have dropped out of first place, it’s time to consider wild-card possibilities. The team with the best record that doesn’t win a division plays host to the team with the second-best record among non-division winners.
If the two wild-card teams are tied, the game would be played at the site of the team that won the regular-season series.
If the Royals tied with the Mariners, the wild-card game would be played in Seattle, which won the season series 5-2.
If the Royals tied with the A’s, the wild-card game would be played at Kauffman Stadium because the Royals won five of seven against Oakland.
The wild-card game is set for Sept. 30.
If teams are tied for the second wild-card spot and a 163rd regular-season game is necessary, a coin flip would determine the site.