April 22, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy (23) delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Now, Duffy will finally make his 2013 debut in the big leagues with a spot start on Wednesday. Originally, Wade Davis was scheduled for the start, but over the weekend, he suffered a death in the family and was placed on leave. Duffy is in uniform in Kansas City tonight and practiced before the game with the rest of the team. An official move to add him to the active roster will be announced after tonight’s game. I assume Will Smith, who was added when Davis was placed on leave, will go back to Omaha to make room.
Duffy has thrown 63 innings in the minors while completing a rehab assignment and then being optioned when the rehab assignment timeframe expired. He’s been with Omaha since early June. He put up a 4.14 ERA across the Double A and Triple A levels with 11 K/9 across both stops. Last year, Duffy finished his shortened season with 9.1 K/9 in the big leagues, but also had 5.9 BB/9 in the same span. It’s always been about command with Duffy. If he can locate, his stuff can be fantastic. If he can’t, he’s going to use up too many pitches and walk too many.
In his four most recent starts, he’s thrown 90 or more pitches, so I wouldn’t expect the Royals to push him beyond that limit tomorrow night against the Twins. Manager Ned Yost suggested that after his start, Duffy will likely return to Triple A when Wade Davis returns from leave (he’s eligible to come back any time starting on Wednesday and has until Sunday to return). Yost did concede that they’ll see how Duffy looks tomorrow, but odds are that he’ll return to the minors for a while.
Against the Twins, Duffy could fare well. Their two toughest hitters – Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau – are both lefties, and the rest of the lineup isn’t very intimidating. Still, Duffy’s been prone to allowing baserunners (1.609 WHIP in the big leagues and 1.365 in his minor league games this year), and he’ll have to have his control and swing-and-miss stuff working to meet many fans’ expectations.