The tough start to the season for the Royals just continues to pile on. Their ace pitcher Danny Duffy is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a grade 1 oblique strain he sustained on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians. With such an injury, it’s highly unlikely to see him make another start before the All-Star break. The Royals are currently being discussed by national pundits as a team that should sell at the trade deadline, and this news doesn’t help the situation one bit.
The 28-year-old lefty just signed a five-year $65 million extension with the team this past offseason after going 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA. He was also in the midst of a very solid start this season, pitching in 11 games with a 3.54 ERA. In his absence, the Royals will likely have to use Chris Young as a temporary replacement.
However, the Royals could decide to stick with the rookie left-hander Eric Skoglund, who will be making his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reported that Nathan Karns won’t be ready until next week at the earliest. He quoted Ned Yost as saying “It’s an opportunity for our young guys.” This is also probably in reference to Triple-A pitcher Jake Junis, who pitched a solid game against the Minnesota Twins in his first major league start. In the 6-4 victory, Junis allowed two earned runs on 5 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Royals are still 6.5 games back of the AL Central-leading Twins. With a home stand coming up against division rivals, the loss of Duffy has only made matters worse for a team that is running out of time to gain ground in the standings.