Danny Duffy is returning to his pitching roots. At least for one day.
After appearing out of the Royals bullpen this season, Duffy will earn his first start of the year Saturday against the Tigers. He will start in place of left-hander Bruce Chen, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday afternoon with a stiff back.
Manager Ned Yost said Duffy will be on a 75-85 pitch count.
“I don’t really know what my role is moving forward,” Duffy said. “I just know that I need to grab the ball and go. I’ll be ready.”
Duffy’s first career stint in the bullpen was mostly successful. In six appearances, he compiled a 1-1 record and 2.16 earned run average.
But he was removed after facing only two batters Wednesday, his last appearance, when he threw five of six pitches for balls, walking one hitter and beaning another.
“To be honest with you, I really enjoy the bullpen role,” Duffy said. “I’ve been talking about it for years that I thought I’d really flourish out there.”
“I’ve taken a lot from my three or four weeks out there. You have to start pitching right away, and you can’t waste pitches. I learned that the other day when I was pulled after two hitters, which was the right move to make.”
Duffy has shown increased velocity while working in shorter stints out of the bullpen, though he has no plans to decrease the speed of his fastball Saturday in an effort to conserve energy.
“I don’t really get exhausted out there,” Duffy said. “When I try to take some off the ball, it usually flattens out. I need to figure out a way to vary my velocity while staying in my delivery. I’m just about there.”