Danny Duffy says he could compete in big leagues

Danny Duffy in Omaha - Minda Haas

The 24-year-old lefty had Tommy John surgery 13 months ago. He has nine appearances with Triple-A Omaha and is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA, including a 2.25 ERA over his last 32.0 IP.

Danny Duffy seems to be getting comfortable in Omaha - at least comfortable enough to venture out.

He's been spotted a couple of times recently jogging outside Werner Park before a game, and a couple of nights ago, he tweeted this after 11:00 p.m.: "Walking around Omaha like, where am I goin? 7 miles from my hotel. #BrainOnVacation"

As much as he enjoys exploring Omaha, he doesn't want to get too comfortable. Instead, he's hoping for a return to the big leagues.

The 24-year-old lefty had Tommy John surgery 13 months ago. He has nine appearances with Triple-A Omaha and is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA, including a 2.25 ERA over his last 32.0 IP.

The Royals have been gradually increasing his pitch count. He is currently up to a 95-pitch limit. They don't really need him in Kansas City right now, but that could change if they move Ervin Santana.

Duffy tossed five shutout innings on Sunday at home against Nashville, giving up two hits and two walks, striking out seven. He struggled with his command more than his final line might indicate. But he says he is feeling good.

"I felt like I had a couple of more innings in the tank, for sure," Duffy said on the Storm Chasers pregame radio show on Monday.

He even threw a couple of cutters.

"Yeah, I got around my fastball a couple of times," he said. "It wasn't deliberate, but when I saw the kind of action it had on it, I figured I'd throw it. But I'm trying to keep them to a minimum. I understand the organization doesn't want me to throw those."

With the trade deadline approaching quickly, changes could be coming and Duffy says he admits to wondering about where he might fit in Kansas City.

"There's a logjam up there," he said. "And people are just performing really well. There's nothing I can do to speed up the process, but I wouldn't want the team to do anything different than they are doing right now (the Royals are currently on a six-game winning streak). They are winning games and I'm really excited for them. Hopefully I can fit in somewhere with them by the end of the year."

What about the possibility of him being traded - does he think about that?

"I really don't even want to think about that," he said. "I couldn't imagine myself in anything but blue. Hopefully it doesn't happen. I want to remain a Kansas City Royal. But I think those chances are slim to none that I'd be gone anyway."

He says his loyalty to Kansas City stems from the close friendships he has developed with the players in the organization.

"I don't mean to get out the mini-violin, but I really have a good time hanging out with those guys and I could not see myself not being in the same dugout with those guys."

So, is he ready to return to the big leagues?

"I'm really happy with where I'm at," he said. "I'm not satisfied just yet. I still have some fine-tuning to do, but I feel like I could compete at the major league level and really help the team. Right now I really feel like I have the confidence in myself to dominate. Hopefully I get my shot."

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