The Cardinals continue to get healthier.
According to MLB.com beat writer and columnist Matthew Leach, rehabbing setup man Eduardo Sanchez is on track to return from the disabled list “for the first game” after the All-Star break.
Sanchez started a throwing program at the beginning of July and will head out on a minor league rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Springfield.
Sanchez has thoroughly impressed since arriving in the major leagues in mid-April, featuring a 1.88 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his first 28 2/3 innings. But the 22-year-old suffered a strained shoulder on June 12 and has been sidelined ever since. Once cleared physically, he will return to his eighth-inning setup role.
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.