Royals left-handed starting pitcher Danny Duffy continues moving closer to a return to the active roster, but he still has hurdles to climb.
Duffy, who threw a two-inning simulated game at Kauffman Stadium prior to Friday night’s game against the New York Mets, is scheduled to throw another simulated outing on Tuesday.
He’s expected to extend this outing to four innings as he works his way back from a left hamstring strain which forced onto the injured list.
Duffy appeared in good spirits and was encouraged the day after his first outing against live hitters. He said he felt good and would simply take it “one day at a time.” Duffy did throw side sessions between his injury and Friday’s simulated game.
“Everything is right on schedule,” Royals manager Ned Yost said on Saturday. “It was less than two weeks ago. His effort, according to the Rapsodo, on his sides is game-like. We just need to get him up to around 60 pitches and then he’ll be ready to go.”
Yost said sending Duffy on a rehab assignment was a consideration, but it didn’t make a lot of sense with both the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates on the road.
Following the weekend series with the Mets, the Royals go on the road to play the Baltimore Orioles for three days, then they’ll head to Boston for the completion of the suspended extra-inning game on Thursday, and then they’ll play a weekend series on the road against the Cleveland Indians starting next Friday night.
While Yost wouldn’t give a definite timetable for Duffy’s return, he acknowledged that it’s conceivable he could be ready to come of the IL.
Duffy hasn’t pitched since his start at Minnesota on Aug. 3. This season, Duffy has gone 5-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 18 starts — he started the season on the IL — and he’s struck out 90 batters and walked 36 in 100 1/3 innings. Duffy has posted a 1.41 WHIP and a .269 opponent’s batting average.
Right-handed reliever Jorge Lopez is scheduled to make his second start since Duffy’s injury on Monday in Baltimore.