Dodgers Free Agent Danny Duffy Targeting June Return

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made several moves to address their injury-depleted starting rotation at the trade deadline last season and while the blockbuster for Max Scherzer garnered the most attention, the club also acquired Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals.

Duffy was on the 10-day injured list at the time of the trade, recovering from a left flexor strain that had kept him out of action since the middle of July.

The Dodgers hoped the left-hander would be able to return to the mound in September, but after failing to make it through a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium, was shut down for the remainder of the year.

Duffy has since undergone surgery to repair his flexor tendon and now is on track to begin a throwing program in March. If all goes well, he hopes to be back on a Major League mound by no later than June, via Andy McCullough of The Athletic:

The free agent left-hander plans to start a throwing program in March and intends to be ready to pitch by June. … “I’m pumped,” Duffy said on Wednesday, as he drove through the hills near his home outside Lompoc, Calif. “I was going to take it to the house. But I got the itch. I’ve got more in the tank, for sure.” … Duffy figures he will pitch out of the bullpen in 2022.

Whenever Duffy is ready for game action, he expects to take on a relief role. While the bulk of his opportunities have come as a starting pitcher, he has previous experience pitching out of the bullpen.

The Southern California native has made 30 career relief appearances against 204 starts, with all but two occurring during the 2014-16 seasons. The Dodgers initially planned to stretch out Duffy as a starting pitcher but adjusted the outlook to a bullpen role because time began to run short.

Before being traded to L.A., Duffy went 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 22 walks in 61 innings over 13 games (12 starts) for the Royals. He remains a free agent and could be an intriguing flier for teams in need of pitching.

That figures to include the Dodgers, who already have lost Scherzer in free agency while Clayton Kershaw is still on the open market.

Dodgers completed Duffy trade with Royals

In October, the Dodgers sent Minor League pitcher Zach Willeman to the Royals as the player to be named later to complete their trade for Duffy.

Willeman went 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.36 WHIP across 33 games for Double-A Tulsa this season in what marked his first time pitching at the level. The right-hander was selected by the Dodgers out of Kent State University in the 19th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.

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