Here’s a blast from the past: Felix Pie, the former top Cubs prospect turned 28-year-old journeyman, has been called up from Triple-A by the Pirates and is batting leadoff tonight. For a first-place team. In 2013.
Pie last played in the majors for the Orioles in 2011, hitting .220 with zero homers in 85 games, and is a career .249 hitter with a .673 OPS. He also hit just .251 with a .325 on-base percentage in 105 games at Triple-A for the Pirates before the call-up, so the move–and particularly the decision to bat him leadoff tonight–doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Pie first cracked Baseball America‘s top-100 prospects list in 2003. That year Francisco Liriano was 11 spots below Pie on the same prospect list, Andrew McCutchen was a sophomore in high school, and Gerrit Cole was in junior high. So yeah, it’s been a while.
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.