Things were going well for the Royals. Prior to the start of Saturday's game, the Detroit Tigers had lost to the San Francisco Giants, pushing them another half-game back in the American League Central. The Baltimore Orioles also lost, giving them another inch towards a home field playoff series in October.
Things are feeling decidedly less comfortable now, as Danny Duffy exited his start Saturday after throwing one pitch. Considering that Duffy is in his first full season back after Tommy John surgery, there was immediate concern that he had blown out his recently constructed elbow. Fortunately, the initial diagnosis is not that terrible:
As Danny Duffy walked through the dugout into the tunnel, the broadcast showed Billy Butler shaking his head and pointing to his shoulder.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) September 6, 2014
After an initial review, it would appear that Duffy's injury is hopefully just soreness and inflammation:
The official diagnosis: Danny Duffy was removed due to left shoulder soreness.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) September 6, 2014
Duffy has been a stable force since joining the Royals rotation, and has hit a career high in innings pitched this season. After having never thrown more than 126.1 innings in a season, Duffy is at 141.1 innings this year already. Like fellow starter Yordano Ventura, who has been skipped in the rotation a couple of times in the past month or so, Duffy may simply need to get some rest. Given his injury history, though, fans are fearing the worst.
Duffy had made 22 starts and 28 appearances prior to today, with a 2.42 ERA and 6.88 K/9. He has been one of the Royals best pitchers this year, a big reason as to why they are 78-61 with a 2.5-game lead in the AL Central.