Paulino, who is coming back from July Tommy John surgery, is currently longtossing at 120 feet. "I'm playing catch four or five days a week," Paulino said. "I can feel my arm getting stronger every day." The right-hander is targeting a mid-July return. - Kansas City Star
Danny Duffy wil throw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. It will only be a 20-pitch soft toss session, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Duffy will liekly return sometime around the All-Star break if his recovery goes smoothly. -Bob DuttonIt is good to hear that the recoveries are going well for both Paulino and Duffy. It has been said on many occasions, but these two starters were clearly the most talented on the Royals staff in 2012. Their mid-season returns could play key roles in solidifying the Royals rotation in the second half.
I have been asked a couple of times what will the Royals do upon their returns to the Major League roster. First, I must be clear that the likelihood that this is an issue is extremely slim. The Royals will be fielding a rotation that includes 39 home run Ervin Santana, soon to be 34 year old Jeremy Guthrie, 2012 reliever Wade Davis, James Shields who apparently is just waiting to break down, and either Luke Hochevar the human pinata, or team China ace Bruce Chen. I'd say the odds that there isn't an opening or two in the rotation are low.
What if I am wrong? (Lord, I hope that I am.) If that is the scenario at play, it is a good problem for Kansas City to have. One thing that I could see the Royals doing is using an option on Danny Duffy to net him a bit of time in Omaha until another spot opens up. The benefit to this approach would be that by sending Duffy to Omaha and limiting his innings, the Royals could not only take their time with his recovery, but could also delay his service clock past and prevent themselves from an eventual Super Two hearing.
If there isn't even one spot available, I'm sure Paulino could be used as a long man until a rotation spot did open up. Ultimately, the Royals finally have some quality depth to their rotation. They are still lacking the front end punch that will push them over the top, but by August they could realistically have 10-12 Major League starters to work with. Hopefully this depth will carry them through the season and they can play some meaningful games come Fall.