KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Danny Duffy was expecting a battle to become the Royals' Opening Day starter in 2020, but thanks to COVID-19, the job is his.
"I feel so bad for Brad," Duffy said Tuesday.
"Brad" is Brad Keller, the other Royals starting pitcher vying for the Opening Day gig. But Keller hit the injured list last week with a positive COVID-19 test. Now Duffy, the Royals' veteran left-hander will take the ball July 24th in Cleveland.
"It means a lot to me. I've put in a lot of work," Duffy said. "But I'm ready for it."
Of course, Duffy was also expecting that battle for the Opening Day starter role to conclude in March. Coronavirus once again had other plans. Aside from it being in July, this Opening Day will provide a fraction of the fanfare that typically comes with the MLB event.
"It's really weird having conversations with your teammates and pretty much having everybody be able to hear you," Duffy said. "It's not uncomfortable, it's just that this game is different without fans in the stands. But we've still got a job to do."
And count Duffy as excited to be back doing it.
"You really kind of take for granted what you have until it's taken from you," Duffy said. "I missed baseball. I needed this."