Breaking News: Danny Duffy to start Saturday; Bruce Chen to DL


Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals officially scratched no. 5 starter Bruce Chen from his scheduled Saturday start and put him on the 15-day DL. Left-hander Danny Duffy will get the call in Chen’s place.

The Royals made the move retroactive to April 25, meaning that Chen will be eligible to return to Kansas City April 10. The Royals called up reliever Aaron Brooks, a ground ball specialist, for the second time this season.

Chen has been struggling with pain in his right quad and stiffness in his lower back.

Manager Ned Yost told KCRoyals.com’s Dick Kaegel, “He just didn’t feel good. His back was still stiff and he still felt some pain, even when he was warming up. He didn’t even get to the mound.”

In the same article, Yost also told Kaegel after Thursday’s 7-3 loss to Toronto, “We’ll announce [on Friday] but the odds are it’s probably going to be Danny. I’m going to re-think every scenario that we’ve got, but it’s really leaning heavily toward Danny right now.”

Though Duffy has lost his composure on the mound his last two relief appearance, the 25-year-old has, at times, appeared dominant. Duffy’s “stuff” is clearly starter quality. The only question about him has been his command.

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Saturday he gets what will likely be at least two shots at showing he belongs in the rotation.

Danny Duffy has 25 major league starts on his resume and over 2 years of major-league service time according to Baseball-Reference. Yet, Duffy has yet to establish himself as a starting pitcher at the major league level after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Duffy’s velocity has clearly returned. What he needs to show is that his command has developed to the point that he can go deep  into games on a regular enough basis to hold down a rotation spot.

If Duffy can manage the feat, the Royals rotation will immediately become stronger with his mid-90’s fastball and hard slider eating up more innings, and Bruce Chen back in the swingman role in which he excelled last season.

However, Danny Duffy will likely be limited to 65-70 pitches by Yost. Kaegel wrote:

"If Duffy starts, Yost estimated he could throw 65 to 70 pitches, so another pitcher would have to be designated to “piggyback” with him. Rookie Michael Mariot is a possibility."

Long considered a hot prospect, Danny Duffy’s development has been slowed by his elbow injury. Let’s hope Duffy can at long last realize his potential. He’s a guy that could help the Royals match up to the star-studded rotation in Detroit.