Duffy set to face Cardinals; Chen progressing

Duffy set to face Cardinals; Chen progressing

TORONTO -- "Dead arm" or not, left-hander Danny Duffy plans to be full of life on Monday night at St. Louis when he faces the Cardinals.

After Duffy lasted just four innings and gave up six runs in Wednesday's 9-3 loss to the Astros, manager Ned Yost called Duffy's problem a "dead arm."

"Nothing was coming out. He didn't call it dead arm, it's just that he was throwing it as hard as he could and it was coming out 90, 91 [mph]," Yost said. "It was the best way that I could describe it."

Duffy was sort of baffled by the whole thing.

"My velocity dipped pretty drastically compared to the prior start, but I think it's just something that all pitchers go through every now and then," he said. "The good ones pitch through it and get outs anyway, and I didn't. So depending on what I've got in the tank on Monday, I'm going to make better pitches. I can get outs no matter what and there are no excuses for giving it up like I did."

So puzzled was Duffy that he found himself looking at the radar gun readings from the mound.

"It's weird," he said. "I don't normally peek at the velocity on the scoreboard. But I knew it wasn't coming out good and I was trying to get behind it as much I could. And I was looking and I'm like, man, 88, 87, 90 and I didn't know what was going on. I've never had that before. So, I was done and I tried to put more behind it as opposed to just working with what I had that day."

Duffy has made five starts since taking over for sore-backed Bruce Chen. Finally, Chen is making solid strides toward returning to the Royals.

"Bruce threw a simulated game today and looked very good," manager Ned Yost said on Friday. "He's probably going to go out on rehab. He'll throw another side session here on Sunday and then if he passes that test, he might be ready to go out."

When Chen does report to the Minors, he'll probably need at least three starts to build up his arm strength and pitch count so he can return as either a starter or reliever, depending on the club's needs at that time.

"I don't anticipate him having any setbacks. He looked good today, felt good today," Yost said.

Chen threw two 15-pitch innings at Rogers Centre, facing hitters Jimmy Paredes, Brett Hayes, James Shields and Duffy.

"He humbled Duffy real quickly," Yost said. "Duffy thought he was a good hitter until he faced Bruce. He walked out a little defeated."

Duffy will get another test on Monday night when he gets in the batter's box against the Cardinals' Shelby Miller.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.