A day after what manager Ned Yost called a “nightmare scenario,” the Royals executed yet another roster move designed to improve their shaky bullpen. The team recalled Danny Duffy, one of the organization’s top prospects, and optioned second baseman Johnny Giavotella back to Class AAA Omaha.
The Royals once again have a 12-man pitching staff and no certified backup middle infielder. The organization held Duffy out of his start in Omaha last week. The team has been searching for a role for Duffy after he lost out to Yordano Ventura for the final spot in the team’s rotation this spring. He flunked a bullpen audition in the Cactus League, and the team sent him to the minors.
Now he returns, with an undefined role. Manager Ned Yost would prefer not to use Duffy in high-leverage situations. But he understands he may have to, anyway.
“We’re trying to put together the best arms we’ve got in the organization right now,” Yost said. “And he’s one of the best arms we’ve got. Trying to get the ‘pen in good shape.”
Duffy performed a noble service in Saturday’s 7-1 loss. He saved the bullpen by pitching 2 1/3 innings in relief of James Shields. He struck out three.
“You never know what’s going to happen in this game,” Duffy said. “I just try to be ready whenever they call me. I feel good, definitely. I just can’t wait to get back out there.”
Duffy provides Yost with a left-handed option. He had been working with only right-handers after Donnie Joseph was sent out on Wednesday.
Lefty reliever Tim Collins has yet to resume his throwing program. The team placed him on the disabled list Monday because of a flexor strain in his left arm. Collins struggled to throw strikes in his first few appearances, but the team suspects his problems stem from his injury.
“We’ll find out when his elbow feels better,” Yost said.
Both Collins and fellow left-hander Franciscley Bueno are unable to come off the disabled list until April 22. Both will require rehab stints, Yost said.
Yost did not categorize Duffy as a stopgap until Collins returns. If Duffy pitches well, he will remain with the parent club — even if the team still views him as a starter in the future.
“Absolutely,” Yost said. “We’re trying to win baseball games.”
Perez stays in lineup
Catcher Salvador Perez is not expected to receive a day off on this road trip. He has played in every game thus far, but there is an off day Monday and the team just had Thursday off.
“We’ve played nine games,” Yost said. “They don’t need a rest yet.”