Brian Fuentes is back in the majors two weeks after being released by the A’s, as the Cardinals have called up the veteran left-hander.
Fuentes was designated for assignment by Oakland after posting a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings and predictably no teams were willing to take on his $5 million contract via waivers.
However, once he was available for a prorated share of the minimum salary the Cardinals signed him to a minor-league contract and will give the 36-year-old former closer a look in a middle relief role. At the very least Fuentes still seems capable of being useful in a left-handed specialist role and he was effective enough last season to potentially still be a decent setup man.
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.