Injuries are affecting a pair of ex-KC Royals pitchers this season
Although he'd pitched only 46 times in parts of three seasons with the Royals, this year's Opening Day cash-for-player deal with Atlanta that ended Richard Lovelady's Kansas City career felt surprising. Especially for a pitcher around 18 months removed from Tommy John Surgery, he'd looked good in spring training with eight scoreless innings,10 strikeouts, and no walks in eight appearances. That effort followed the four-inning, nine-strikeout rehab assignment he had late last season.
And he was 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA and a save in 20 games before the 2021 injury that led to his TJS.
But for whatever reason, the Royals sent him to the Braves, who soon lost him to Oakland on a waiver claim. Lovelady became a bullpen workhorse for the A's by pitching in 24 games with a 3.86 ERA (104 ERA+) and 20 strikeouts in 21 innings.
That 24th appearance, though, could be his last for quite a while. This happened June 15 with Lovelady striving to keep Oakland's game against the Rays tied in the seventh inning:
The A's put the lefthander on the 15-day IL Friday with a left elbow strain. When he pitches again remains to be seen.
Recent news looks better for Danny Duffy, the former KC starter who was having an excellent 2021 season when he went down with the second of two left flexor injuries he suffered that year. Despite his presence on the IL, the Dodgers wanted him at the trade deadline and sent cash and a player to be named later (Zach Willeman) to get him.
He hasn't appeared in the majors since but, in a late-season minor league rehab assignment last year, struck out 11 in 6.2 innings; the three runs he gave up in two-thirds of an inning Sept. 6 inflated his ERA to 5.40.
Now, he's with Texas and working his way back at the Rangers' Frisco Double-A affiliate, where he's 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA in five relief appearances. But the high ERA is deceiving—three of the four runs he's surrendered came in his first outing, and he's held opponents scoreless three times. Expect the Rangers to give him a big league chance later this season.