UPDATE: Now Rosenthal reports that Loria denies ordering the switch. This is the most interesting thing the Marlins have done all season so far.
11:32 AM: We wrote the other day about how the Marlins flip-flopped Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco in the doubleheader against the Twins earlier this week. Today Jeff Passan reports that it wasn’t an organizational decision as such. It was a Jeff Loria decision. He personally demanded that the pitchers switch games, which went against the set rotation, violated baseball protocol in such situations and angered Nolasco and some others on the team.
But here’s the best part: Loria’s reasoning for the switch — to keep Fernandez out of the colder temperatures in the night game — actually backfired:
Loria insisted Fernandez, the team’s prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez’s first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco’s start (42 degrees).
Jeff Loria: Tries to do the wrong thing, screws up, still does the wrong thing.
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.