Nori Aoki expected to return from concussion on Thursday

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Some positive news for the Giants’ battered outfield from’s Alex Pavlovic

Aoki was struck on the front of his batting helmet last Sunday by a Jake Arrieta pitch. He tried to return to action a few days later against the Astros but had to exit that game after experiencing lightheadedness.

The 33-year-old has been an important presence at the top of the Giants’ lineup this season, batting .302 with a .368 on-base percentage across 338 plate appearances. Aoki signed a one-year, $4.7 million free agent contract with San Francisco over the winter. That deal carries a $5.5 million club option for 2016.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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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.