It wasn’t too long ago that we were thinking Shin-Soo Choo could need surgery on his thumb. Now, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, it appears that he could be back in the lineup by the end of next week.
Choo took some soft-toss Thursday and is scheduled to participate in full batting practice Saturday. On the verge of full participation in pregame workouts, the club hopes to have Choo join them on their roadtrip to Minnesota next week. From there, he’ll be re-evaluated for a possible return against the Rays next weekend.
According to Indians manager Manny Acta, Choo might not even need a minor league rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list.
“He’s kept himself in good shape physically,” Acta said of Choo. “We’re
not anticipating him going down [to the Minors]. Things could change.
But he hasn’t lost much time. He’s pretty close.”
Choo was batting .286/.390/.475 with 13 home runs, 45 RBI and 12 stolen bases before injuring his right thumb while attempting to make a diving catch on July 2. His rapid recovery would be a pleasant surprise for a sports town that hasn’t received much good news lately.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.