by John Viril—
Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy got bombed in Omaha last night in his quest to come beck from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Just promoted to AAA after 3 short rehab stints in AA NW Arkansas, Duffy did not survive the third inning. In a 10-7 Stormchaser’s victory over the Nashville Sounds, Duffy surrendered 3 runs in the fourth inning and four more in the 3rd in 2.1 innings of work. Overall, Duffy gave up 7 hits and 2 walks with 0 strikeouts.
Clearly, Duffy has a ways to go before he’s ready for a Kansas City return.
Monday night’s setback was something of a surprise. Duffy showed good velocity in his 3 AA starts, with his fastball sitting right in his pre-injury range between 94 to 96 mph. He had struck out 15 batters in 10.2 innings while compiling a 3.75 ERA. While certainly not dominating and definitely in need of developing more endurance, Duffy did not seem headed for a beating after promotion to AAA.
Danny Duffy is 16 days into his 30-day rehab stint in minor league baseball. At the end of that time, Duffy will need to be added to the major league roster or room made in AAA to keep him. Since Duffy still has minor league options, he could potentially remain on the Stormchaser’s roster until he shows he’s ready for major league hitters.
While the Royals are anxious to get Danny Duffy’s development back on track, there’s no dire need for him in Kansas City. The Royals lead the American League in team ERA at 3.49. Some have speculated that Duffy could replace the struggling Wade Davis (5.66 ERA) in the Kansas City rotation, but Davis has been far better than his numbers suggest. Davis’ FIP of 4.76 and his xFIP (adjusted Fielding Independent Pitching) of 3.99 along with his unusually high BABIP against of .391 demonstrate he’s suffered from a combination of strong competition and bad luck.
With fellow starter Felipe Paulino currently rehabbing in AA and the Royals strong pitching, general manager Dayton Moore could find it difficult to create space for Danny Duffy on the MLB staff. Paulino has no more minor league options available and will have to be put back on the major league roster to avoid exposing him to waivers. Consequently, it could be a long time before Duffy makes his MLB return—possibly extending to the September roster expansion.