Takashi Saito cleared to rejoin bullpen after shoulder scare

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Atlanta received some good news yesterday, as an MRI exam revealed merely tendinitis in Takashi Saito’s sore shoulder.
Bobby Cox said he “was prepared for that to be the end” for the 40-year-old Saito when he exited Friday’s game with arm pain, but he’s expected to be available out of the Braves’ bullpen at some point this weekend.
Aside from the aches and pains that include a midseason stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in addition to the latest shoulder problems Saito has shown no signs of slowing down, posting a 2.52 ERA, .196 opponents’ batting average, and 69/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings as Billy Wagner’s primary setup man.
He had a couple rough outings after coming off the DL in late June, but Saito has a 1.03 ERA and 32/3 K/BB ratio in 26 innings spread over his last 27 appearances. He’s had one of the best after-age-35 careers of any reliever in baseball history.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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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.