Last week J.J. Hardy told reporters that the lack of progress in contract negotiations with the Orioles “just makes me curious” and now the impending free agent shortstop has decided to stop talking about the situation publicly.
Hardy informed reporters that he will no longer discuss his contract negotiations, which is a big change because Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com describes him as having “respectfully fielded questions from reporters since spring training.”
According to Hardy he wants to keep from being a distraction and avoid a potential misunderstanding, which suggests the Orioles probably weren’t thrilled with last week’s comments. And the lack of progress on a long-term extension also suggests the Orioles are probably hesitant to lock Hardy up into his mid-30s. He’s in the final season of a three-year, $22.25 million deal at age 31.
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.