Duffy still searching for early-season success

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners will wrap up this three-game series with a day game Wednesday.

The two teams have split the first two games with Felix Hernandez picking up the victory Tuesday in an 8-3 Mariners triumph. The Mariners moved above .500 to 5-4, while the Royals have lost six of their first nine games.

The Royals will be without outfielder Alex Gordon, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip labral tear. Manager Ned Yost said surgery is not necessary, and the Royals are hopeful Gordon will return in two weeks. Yost said Gordon would be evaluated again in about a week.

If surgery should be required, Gordon would probably be out eight to 10 weeks. Gordon hit .174 with one extra-base hit and no RBIs or runs in seven games this season. He started four games in center field and three in left.

“Nick (Kenney, trainer) said the timeline would probably be 10 days to two weeks, hopefully,” Yost said. “But we still have to get seven days down the road and see where we are.”

The Royals recalled outfielder Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Omaha. The Royals claimed Almonte off waivers from the Cleveland Indians on April 2.

“You have to have a strong mind and believe in yourself,” Almonte said. “I always think that I belong here. It is a good chance for me in my career. I want to take advantage and give it everything I have. I always say it’s good to try new things.”

Almonte, who struck out as a pinch hitter to end the game in his Kansas City debut, can play all three outfield positions.

“He’s an athletic switch-hitter who gives us depth and can roam the outfield pretty good,” Yost said. “When we played against him in Cleveland, he was always a tough out. He gives you good at-bats.”

The Mariners should be getting some injured players back soon.

Left fielder Ben Gamel, who has been out with a right oblique injury, is rehabbing in the minors and if he has no setbacks he will likely be activated on Friday when the Mainers open a seven-game Safeco Field homestand.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said designated hitter Nelson Cruz and catcher Mike Zunino are close to coming off the DL. Zunino has a right oblique strain and Cruz a right ankle sprain.

The Mariners got some encouraging news on first baseman Ryon Healy, who suffered a sprained right ankle during a postgame workout Saturday and landed on the disabled list.

“It went better than expected, and he is out of his walking boot and walking fine now,” Servais said. “He hasn’t done any baseball activity and is on the DL obviously, but he is moving along nicely.”

Left-handers James Paxton of the Mariners and Danny Duffy are the probable starters Wednesday. Both are looking for their first victory of the season.

Paxton, who is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA, lost on March 31 to the Indians and April 5 at Minnesota.

This will be Paxton’s fifth career start against the Royals. He is 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA in four starts. He last faced the Royals on August 4, 2017, at Kauffman Stadium and picked up the victory, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out seven in six innings.

No Royals hitter has more than eight at-bats against Paxton. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is 2-for-8 off Paxton. Mike Moustakas is 2-for-5 with a home run.

Moustakas homered in the 8-3 loss Tuesday and as homered in back-to-back games. Moustakas has a nine-game hitting streak against Seattle with six home runs.

Duffy, like Paxton, has started the season with two mediocre outings. He gave up three runs in the first inning in his previous outing, a loss on Friday in Cleveland. In the season opener, the Royals scored four runs in the first inning but Duffy could not hold it in a 14-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA, allowing eight runs on 10 hits, three of them home runs.

After Wednesday, the two teams won’t see each other again until June 29 in Seattle.