In news that unfortunately doesn’t come as a big surprise, the Braves just announced that Ben Sheets was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Sheets was very effective upon joining the Braves last month, allowing one run or less in four out of his first five starts, but he has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. The 34-year-old right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings last night against the Giants, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks. He admitted 10 days ago that he was going through a bit of dead arm phase, so it looks like things got worse.
The Braves have been using six starters recently, but they’ll presumably return to a five-man rotation. Miguel Batista had his contract purchased from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Sheets’ place on the active roster. The 41-year-old right-hander posted an ugly 4.82 ERA and 34/31 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings with the Mets earlier this season before being released. Sorry, Craig Calcaterra.
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.