Skip Schumaker is close to avoiding arbitration (and a possible non-tender) by signing a two-year contract with the Cardinals, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Last month general manager John Mozeliak indicated that Daniel Descalso would open the season as the Cardinals’ starting second baseman, but Schumaker’s presence means at the very least he’ll likely have to fight for the gig.
Jon Jay also seems fairly entrenched as the primary center fielder, but Schumaker could give him competition as well after starting over Jay at times during the World Series run.
Schumaker has one season of arbitration eligibility remaining, so a two-year deal would buy out his first season of free agency after the 31-year-old career-long Cardinal hit .283 with two homers and a .685 OPS in 117 games.
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.