According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Jeff Mathis suffered a broken collarbone when he was hit by a foul tip during the fourth inning of today’s Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals. The injury will sideline him for around six weeks, which means he’ll likely begin the season on the disabled list.
Mathis was acquired by the Marlins this winter in the big 12-player trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto. The 29-year-old backstop batted .218/.249/.393 with eight home runs and a .642 OPS in 227 plate appearances last season and threw out 41 percent of attempted basestealers.
Mathis was projected to open the season as the backup to young Rob Brantly, but the Marlins could now be on the lookout for some veteran insurance behind the plate. Kyle Skipworth is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.
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.