The Royals have shuffled their rotation headed into the big home series against the Indians. On Tuesday, prospect Yordano Ventura will make his major-league debut in place of Danny Duffy, whose next start has been pushed back.
The 22-year-old Ventura entered 2013 ranked as the no. 60 overall prospect by MLB.com. This season, he's pitched to a 3.14 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 2.92 K/BB ratio in 26 outings (25 starts) across Double- and Triple-A.
Although just 5-foot-11, Ventura boasts a plus-plus fastball that can touch 100 mph on occasion -- in fact, general manager Dayton Moore told reporters Monday that Ventura has hit 100 in every start this season -- and this season he's shown good progress with his breaking and offspeed stuff despite facing advanced competition.
Moore also told reporters that Ventura probably would have been called up this month anyway, but it would have been in the bullpen had Duffy not been injured.
As for the 24-year-old Duffy, he underwent Tommy John surgery in June of last year but has pitched very well in limited action this season (1.85 ERA in five 2013 starts for the Royals). CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler passes along word that Duffy, according to manager Ned Yost, has a very mild flexor strain in his forearm. Knobler notes that Duffy is not guaranteed to pitch again this season, but as of this writing he's not been shut down. The club doesn't feel he's seriously hurt, but doesn't want to push it.
Duffy appears to be taking it all in stride, though, as the lefty passed along these well wishes:
Dont sweat it, you guys. Youngblood is gonna get it done tomorrow. Glad to have this organization looking out for me. Im good.— Danny Duffy (@DannyDuffy805) September 16, 2013
The Royals enter the big series with Cleveland just 3.5 games out in the AL wild-card chase, so young Ventura's MLB debut will certainly be a high-leverage one.