Whatever odds Nick Markakis had of playing for the Orioles again this season took a hit today, as the team announced that he won’t have the pin removed from his fractured thumb as hoped.
Instead that will have to wait another week, which likely means Markakis is at least three weeks from potentially seeing game action.
Baltimore making a deep playoff run could make a Markakis return possible, but even that would assume no further setbacks and a seamless return from a pretty serious injury.
Markakis fractured his thumb being hit by a CC Sabathia pitch on September 8 and the Orioles have recently turned to Chris Davis as their primary right fielder in his absence, with Jim Thome taking over as designated hitter.
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.