Kansas City Royals

GM Dayton Moore says Royals need Danny Duffy back as a starter

Royals manager Ned Yost on Junis’ start against Yankees

Royals manager Ned Yost discusses his team's performance, including starting pitcher Jakob Junis, in a 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees in New York on April 19, 2019.
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Royals manager Ned Yost discusses his team's performance, including starting pitcher Jakob Junis, in a 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees in New York on April 19, 2019.

Royals left-handed veteran pitcher Danny Duffy is scheduled to make a rehab assignment with the Double-A affiliate Northwest Arkansas on Saturday evening. Depending on how he comes out of that start, the Royals could make a move to bring him back to the majors as early as next week.

“Hopefully he gets through that well, and then we’ll make a decision after that,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said on Saturday in New York. “We’re going to be open-minded about that. We’ll see how he does.”

Duffy began this season on the injured list after having to shut down his throwing program in the middle of spring training due to shoulder soreness. Up until this weekend, he’d been progressing through a throwing program back in Arizona in extended spring training where the Royals staff could control his pitch count and the environment.

Duffy has been building up to pitch extended outings, and Moore said the plan right now is to have Duffy remain a starter.

“That’s the natural question to ask for a lot of reasons as we’re looking for more consistency in our bullpen and you want to put quality arms in the back end, but we’ve gotta have guys that can start. We’ve gotta have guys that can go out there and set the tone every fifth day. We’ll be open-minded as we go forward. We’ll see what happens. Nothing is locked in.”

How fast the Royals move from here to make a decision on Duffy depends on how he feels after tonight’s start, but Brad Keller may have to miss a start in the near future due to his MLB suspension for this week’s altercation in Chicago with the White Sox and their shortstop Tim Anderson. Keller is appealing that suspension.

While Moore said he hadn’t talked to Keller about the suspension, he said he wouldn’t rule out Duffy being added to the rotation after one rehab start in Arkansas.

Assistant general manager Scott Sharp will be in attendance to watch Duffy’s start in person.

“It’s just not out of the question that if he does well, we’ll look at the opportunity to get him back up here,” Moore said. “We’ve got an off-day, I believe, on the 25th. So it kind of lines up okay.”

Saturday’s lineup

1. Whit Merrifield, 2b

2. Adalberto Mondesi, ss

3. Alex Gordon, lf

4. Hunter Dozier, 3b

5. Ryan O’Hearn, 1b

6. Jorge Soler, rf

7. Lucas Duda, dh

8. Cam Gallagher, c

9. Billy Hamilton, cf

Starting pitcher: Heath Fillmyer (rh, 0-0, 9.00)

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.
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