The Royals found a temporary solution for the logjam in their starting rotation when the team placed struggling starter Danny Duffy on the 15-day disabled list because of biceps tendinitis.
Duffy received a cortisone shot for his stiff left shoulder on Friday, but his arm did not respond in time to be ready for a start on Tuesday. In his place, the team will insert Jason Vargas, who is returning from a strained flexor muscle that placed him on the shelf for all of May. Vargas will have a 75-pitch limit, manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals also recalled rookie southpaw Brandon Finnegan for Monday’s game against the Yankees. Finnegan threw three scoreless innings in a 14-1 loss to the Yankees. He was optioned back to Class AAA Omaha after the game.
The maneuvers allow Chris Young to remain in the rotation. Yost had hinted Duffy could be pitching for his place on the staff in his next outing. The team scratched Duffy from a scheduled start Saturday after he failed to loosen up during a bullpen session Thursday.
“When you get to this point, something always happens,” Yost said. “And that’s why you wait to make your decision.”
Duffy indicated his condition was similar to what he battled for two months in 2014, before walking off the mound after throwing one pitch at Yankee Stadium in September.
“You pick and choose what you can battle through,” Duffy said. “This didn’t make any sense for me to battle through again.”
Duffy had allowed 14 runs in his previous three outings, which lasted 9 2/3 innings. Yost suggested the high-stress innings contributed to Duffy’s stiffness.
Duffy expressed disappointment that he could not pitch for his club. But he said he understood the Royals’ thought process. He does not wish to repeat last September, when his shoulder and a subsequent rib injury limited him to spectator status during the World Series run.
“We’ve got a lot of season left,” Duffy said. “That’s the beauty of it. I want to be here when it gets down to the wire, and not have to do what I did last year. if this kind of thing is going to happen, I suppose it’s better for it to happen now.”
The team backdated Duffy’s stint to May 17. He is eligible to return on June 1. Duffy planned to throw a light bullpen session on Tuesday. Yost indicated Duffy would likely require a rehabilitation outing before he would be reactivated.
“I’m not panicking or anything,” Duffy said. “I know exactly what it is. It’s mild. I know how to get it back. The cortisone is going to help. It helped last year. This isn’t my first time dealing with something. So I’ll be all right.”