San Diego and Cleveland made a minor trade, with the Padres sending outfielder Aaron Cunningham to the Indians for minor-league pitcher Cory Burns.
Cunningham was once considered a pretty solid prospect, but he’s now been traded four times since mid-2007 and is a 25-year-old with a career .231 batting average and .664 OPS in 392 plate appearances as a big leaguer. He’s been much better in the minors and is capable of serving as a solid backup outfielder or platoon starter versus left-handed pitchers, but that’s probably about it.
Burns’ raw stuff is underwhelming, but the 2008 eighth-round pick has racked up impressive strikeout numbers in the minors and saved 35 games with a 2.11 ERA and 70/15 K/BB ratio in 60 innings at Double-A this year. He’ll likely begin 2012 at Triple-A, but the 24-year-old right-hander could claim a bullpen job in San Diego fairly soon.
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.