KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals fans have been waiting (begging?) for the return of left-hander Danny Duffy, and their long wait will end Wednesday night when Duffy will make his first start in over a year for the Royals against the Minnesota Twins.
Duffy has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he underwent last June. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since May 13, 2012, when he faced just three hitters in a start against the Chicago White Sox before pulling himself from the game because of pain in his elbow.
Duffy, 24, was a third-round pick in 2007 and had been generally regarded as the Royals’ top pitching prospect for the last three years.
Duffy was 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA while at Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas this season. But in his last 17 innings he had given up just two runs while striking out 18.
“I feel really good, really strong,” Duffy said. “I feel like my fastball is really jumping.
“But the main thing is I’m pitching without any pain. That’s the first time I can say that since high school.”
Duffy will take Wade Davis’ spot in the rotation Wednesday. Davis is on bereavement leave to be at his stepbrother’s funeral in Florida on Wednesday.
Duffy will not be activated until Wednesday when the Royals will make a corresponding roster move.
Caution to Royals fans, though: It may not matter how well Duffy pitches Wednesday because he likely won’t stay on the 25-man roster, according to manager Ned Yost.
“Probably not,” Yost said.
Davis is expected to re-join the Royals at the end of the week.
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