Left-hander Danny Duffy is headed to the 10-day disabled list with left elbow impingement and valgus extension overload, the Royals announced Saturday. Duffy will be eligible to return on September 5 barring any further complications. In a corresponding move, the Royals selected the contract of left-handed reliever Onelki Garcia from Triple-A Omaha and shifted center fielder Bubba Starling to the 60-day disabled list.
It’s a harsh blow to the Royals’ playoff chances, as the team entered Saturday’s competition just 1.5 games back of a wild card spot. Unless Duffy makes a quick recovery (never a guarantee with elbow issues), making a run at the postseason without their ace starter might prove an insurmountable hurdle. The lefty already missed 36 days of the 2017 season after rehabbing a left oblique strain, though this is the first sign of elbow trouble he’s had since 2013. He’s 8-8 through 21 starts with Kansas City and currently holds a career-best 3.1 fWAR, supplemented by a 3.78 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 131 innings.
In Duffy’s absence, the team will turn to left-hander Eric Skoglund for Sunday’s series finale against the Indians. The rookie starter is 1-1 in three starts with the Royals, and delivered six runs, five walks and eight strikeouts over his first 9 2/3 big league innings.