Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Fri, 3/9
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 9 2012 6:08PM
I’ve had several conversations with Royals pitcher Danny Duffy this spring and, in all of them, he’s made one thing very clear: he’s on a mission. A mission to prove that, not only can he pitch in the big leagues, but that he can be very successful at this level. Duffy showed flashes of brilliance in his 20 starts with the Royals last season after being called up from Omaha, but he struggled with consistency. This off-season, Duffy tinkered with his delivery to make it easier to repeat and he says he spent a lot of time working on his mental game as well. I’ve gotten the sense Duffy can’t wait for the 2012 season to start.
Duffy made his first outing of the spring today against the Reds in Goodyear and looked like a different pitcher than the one Royals fans saw labor through much of the season. He was confident, composed and looked completely in charge on the mound. Duffy started off his outing by getting Drew Stubbs to fly out; as it turned out, Stubbs was the only one to hit a Duffy pitch into fair territory. The lefty struck out the other five hitters he faced in his two-inning stint, including Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen, perhaps the three best hitters in the Reds lineup. Duffy kept his fastball down and threw it for strikes on both sides of the plate. Like most pitchers making their first spring appearance, Duffy didn’t throw a ton of off-speed pitches but the few he did throw looked effective. Duffy’s added a cut fastball to his repertoire, something he said he started working on last season. If Duffy continues to look like he did today the rest of the spring, it will be nearly impossible for the Royals not to put him in the season-opening starting rotation.
Hard to believe that, around this time two years ago, we were talking about Duffy walking away from baseball; occasionally, I still hear from Royals fans who question his dedication to the game. Duffy’s told me he was very immature two years ago and that a break from baseball was a good thing for him. Even in 2010, I noticed how competitive Duffy is and how badly he wants to win. Now, in 2012, I see the focus and confidence to go along with that competitive drive.