One of the best position prospects in baseball will begin his major league career on Sunday afternoon.
Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that second baseman Ian Kinsler has been scratched from the Rangers’ series finale against the Indians because of stiffness in his back and that 19-year-old Jurickson Profar has been asked to fill in.
Profar was called up from Double-A Frisco on Saturday after batting .281/.368/.452 with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 126 games. He is being groomed as a shortstop but will play more of a utility role down the stretch this season for Texas.
The Rangers enter play Sunday with a three-game lead over the A’s in the American League West.
Profar ranked seventh this past winter on Baseball America‘s list of the Top 100 prospects.
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.