KC Royals: 3 things Danny Duffy’s return could mean

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Danny Duffy
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Finally, there came definitive news Tuesday concerning Adalberto Mondesi, the KC Royals’ shortstop whose continuing war with injuries has forced him out of all but seven of the club’s games this season. The Royals activated him from the Injured List so, although he didn’t crack the lineup against Detroit, he’s back.

Thus ended days of speculation and angst about Mondesi, but a major Royal question remains.

When will Danny Duffy return?

Duffy was enjoying his best season in years (4-3, 1.95 ERA) before a left forearm flexor strain drove him to the IL in mid-May. The news was surprising, and Duffy quickly offered assurances that the injury was nothing more serious. The club’s frequent updates on Duffy haven’t included a definite timeline for his return.

And as Alec Lewis, KC beat writer for The Athletic, reported Tuesday, Duffy’s return to duty remains uncertain:

What does seem certain, though, is that Duffy will be back sometime this season, perhaps even this month. What happens to him when he returns?

Duffy’s injury means the KC Royals probably won’t be trading him in July.

One key to predicting Duffy’s Kansas City future is his expiring contract which, coupled with his excellent work this season, should have General Manager Dayton Moore’s phone ringing when the July trade deadline nears. But Duffy’s injury changes the bargaining equation and may dampen other clubs’ enthusiasm.

Flexor strains often precede Tommy John Surgery; there isn’t any publicly-known evidence suggesting Duffy’s strain puts him on the verge of TJS, but teams will now be more cautious and less likely to jump on a deal for him. While reluctance might be less if Duffy’s post-return pitching matches his pre-injury performance, it won’t disappear, and other clubs might not be willing to give up what the Royals need to let Duffy go.

So, don’t expect KC to trade Duffy next month.