The Kansas City Royals were poised to make it “Our Time” in 2012 before star pitcher Danny Duffy found his way to Tommy John surgery. The 2013 Royals, who are now four games back of both the division and the wild card, have suddenly taken on a successful feel. Danny Duffy is set to return.
May 13, 2012 would be the most recent time that Danny Duffy, once believed to be the future ace of the ballclub, would take the mound as a Kansas City Royal. Not long after that, it was determined that Duffy would require “Tommy John” surgery and his season plus most of the next one, would be lost.
Duffy would begin the long process of recovery. Physical therapy would lead to soft tossing a ball. Eventually, playing catch on level ground and long toss would assist the young lefty in building up the strength that he needed to get back on the mound. On May 26, 2013, just over a year since his last pitch, he would throw his first one in a AA rehab assignment with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The initial outings were short but productive, seeing Duffy rack up 15 strikeouts in his first three appearances, spanning just 10 innings, while only walking four. He would allow 12 hits but would limit his early opponents to five earned-runs. He was on his way to AAA Omaha to continue his work with the Stormchasers.
Success was moderate but noticeable as he continued his walk back to the majors. His second appearance in Omaha on June 10 would be his worst yet, yielding seven runs on seven hits and two walks without striking out a batter. He would only last two-and-one-third of an inning and many started to wonder if he was rushing back. His next start would only last three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, though he would strike out five this time around. Concerns began to mount.
Concerns were laid to rest shortly thereafter as Duffy proved that those two outings would be the shortest of his season, never failing to reach five innings again through his next eight starts. He would never walk more than three batters the rest of the season, strike out fewer than four hitters only one time, and never yield more than four runs, which he only did twice. His season reached a pinnacle as he made one more rehab start at AA on July 17. That day, Duffy would last five-and-one-third of an inning, striking out a season best 13 batters and walking only one.
Duffy would return to AAA to make two more starts, both impressive, and seemingly rounded out his minor league stint for 2013.
Duffy’s season thus far has given seen him surrender seven home runs, walk 27, strikeout 77, surrender 59 hits and allow opposing batters to hit .250 against him over 64 innings pitched.
Tomorrow, August 7, 2013 is opening day for Danny Duffy. He will return to the mound at Kauffman Stadium for the first time in almost 15 months. He will take the ball as the starter for the Royals in the middle of a playoff run and look to solidify the rotation.
Duffy is back.