Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 5/14/12
The misfortune that is bedeviling the 2012 Royals continues. Left-hander Danny Duffy, the Royals' best young pitching prospect, will miss the rest of the season after an MRI on Monday revealed he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Duffy will get a second opinion from specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum but almost certainly will need Tommy John surgery to replace the ulnar ligament. It will be the same surgery that Royals closer Joakim Soria had at the end of spring training. The Royals also are missing their top catcher, Salvador Perez, who is out until July after having knee surgery. But the news regarding Duffy is potentially devastating to a team in desperate need of starting pitching, especially a talented young pitcher such as Duffy who is one of the cornerstones of the Royals' rebuilding process. Duffy, 23, was 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA this season in six starts, and was beginning to show the Royals at times just how dominant he could be. Now, though, Duffy will likely need surgery that will put him out anywhere from 10-14 months, meaning he probably won't return to the rotation until after the start of the 2013 season. Royals manager Ned Yost, who had been as excited as anyone about Duffy's progress this season, naturally was disappointed by the news. "We had been hoping to get a great year from Danny this season," Yost told FOXSportsKansasCity. "But the good news is that Danny is young and he has a chance to come back stronger and better." Duffy, whose fastball reached 97 mph this season, conceivably could come back from Tommy John surgery throwing just as hard as he did this season. Soria also had Tommy John surgery at a young age (19) and still came back and threw in the 92-94 mph range with a hard slider as well. For now, Duffy's absence creates a void in the Royals' struggling rotation. His spot in the rotation comes up Friday, and though the Royals have made no announcement regarding his replacement, it seems likely that Luis Mendoza will take his spot. Mendoza had been in the rotation earlier this season. The Royals on Monday recalled right-hander Nate Adcock to take Duffy's place on the roster. The Royals also are missing left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez, who is on the disabled list with tendinitis in his bicep. "We just have to keep finding ways to work around it (the injuries)," Yost said. Duffy, who experienced elbow problems in 2010, reported soreness in the elbow in April and was skipped once in the rotation to rest. The Royals did not take an MRI on Duffy's elbow at that time. "What people have to understand," Royals trainer Nick Kenney told The Kansas City Star, "is that in 2010, this guy had a grade-two-plus UCL strain he had a tear in 2010. So an MRI is going to show us that he has problems with his UCL from 2010. "We shut (Duffy) down (last month) because he was having some soreness that was more than normal. Within three days, this guy was throwing at a high levelhe showed he had full range of motion, full strength and good velocity and (no change in) command. "That gives you every indication (it's all right) to send him out there." Duffy, though, threw just 13 pitches on Sunday in Chicago before reporting that he felt a tugging sensation in the elbow. Yost immediately removed Duffy from the game and inserted Mendoza. Duffy was unavailable for comment Monday but said after Sunday's game, "I need to find out what it is. I haven't felt it in the last couple of starts. I did (Sunday) after that second pitch, but I didn't feel it at all in the bullpen. "It is what it is. I can't do anything about it. I did everything I can to prepare and take care of it. We'll just have to see what it is."
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