Look who's back already: Duffy to start Tuesday vs. Mariners
SEATTLE -- Danny Duffy has been busy.
The Kansas City Royals left-hander completed his rehabilitation from a strained right oblique and is scheduled to be activated from the 10-day disabled list to start Tuesday at Seattle, his first appearance since May 28.
He also is leading the effort to get teammate Mike Moustakas into the All-Star Game via the Final Five fan vote.
"The whole team has been blowing it up. I've been voting 35 times a day," said Duffy, who wore moose ears during a pregame television interview Monday. "Moose deserves to be there. He's hit 22 (now 23) bombs at a park (Kauffman Stadium) that's probably the hardest to hit bombs at."
Moustakas, the Royals' third baseman, is one of five American League players on the ballot for the final spot on the AL All-Star team. He is joined in the race by the Texas Rangers' Elvis Andrus, the Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, the New York Yankees' Didi Gregorius and the Tampa Bay Rays' Logan Morrison.
Royals pitcher Peter Moylan has been lobbying fans in Atlanta, where he spent parts of eight of his 11 seasons, to vote for Moustakas.
"There's no lack of support in this clubhouse," said Moustakas, who won the Final Five vote in 2015 to make his first All-Star Game. "It's really cool to see what the guys are doing for me, to see how they're pitching in for me. ... That might mean more to me than anything else."
During the Royals' 3-1 win over the Mariners on Monday, it was announced that Moustakas would participate in the Home Run Derby. He went deep again leading off the second inning, surpassing not only his career high but also the team record for the most homers before the All-Star break.
And what would it mean to Moustakas to make his second All-Star Game, in which he would join Royals left-hander Jason Vargas and catcher Salvador Perez?
"It justifies what you've done throughout the year," he said. "(The 2015 All-Star Game) was one of the most fun times I've had playing ball. To get in the (All-Star) clubhouse and see the guys there ... you take a step back and realize this is a special thing. To get there would be amazing."
Some would describe Duffy's comeback in similar terms.
"When they told me six to eight weeks; my goal was to come back in four," Duffy said. "They've been holding down the fort. Now it's my job to come in and not screw it up."
Duffy is 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts this season. The lefty made two rehab starts with Triple-A Omaha, allowing three runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts.
"You always hope they can come back quick," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He feels good, went through a rehab start of 90 pitches. ... That's good enough for us."
Duffy, who is 0-1 with a 2.01 ERA in six career outings against Seattle, including four starts, will be opposed by right-hander Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.66 ERA).
Hernandez, who spent nearly two months on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, will be making his third start since coming off the DL. He allowed three runs in six innings in each of his past two starts.
"Nine shutout innings, three hits would be great," Mariners manager Scott Servais joked when asked what he hoped to get out of Hernandez.
Hernandez, 31, who is 5-5 with a 2.75 ERA in 13 career starts against the Royals, will be getting an extra day of rest since his last start. The Mariners recalled rookie right-hander Andrew Moore to start the series opener Monday night.
"That's the way it lined up," Servais said. "I don't know any pitcher in his 30s who doesn't appreciate an extra day (off)."
The Mariners hope to have their lone All-Star representative back in the starting lineup Tuesday. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz didn't start the past three games since injuring his right knee sliding into second base Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Cruz did pinch-hit Monday, striking out to end the seventh inning against Moylan.
"Fingers crossed," Servais said of Cruz's availability to start Tuesday.