As expected, Dominic Brown will undergo surgery tomorrow on the broken hamate bone in his right hand and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Hamate injuries can be tough to recover from, particularly for power hitters, as it often takes a while before their full strength returns.
It’s an unfortunate setback for one of the game’s best hitting prospects, as Brown was deserving of a chance to claim the starting job in right field after hitting .327 with 20 homers, 17 steals, and a .980 OPS in 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A prior to being called up mostly to sit on the Phillies’ bench down the stretch.
In the short term, however, Ben Francisco is capable of doing a decent job as the primary right fielder. He’s off to a good start this spring and has hit .263 with a .775 OPS in 1,221 career plate appearances, which is very close to average production from a corner outfielder. He may be hard-pressed to match those career totals if he’s no longer being spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but expecting much more than that type of production from Brown as a 23-year-old rookie would be wishful thinking anyway.
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.