Duffy thrilled to join favorite childhood team

August 1st, 2021

PHOENIX -- When Mike Piazza was traded to the Marlins on May 14, 1998, was a 9-year-old Dodgers fan. And the Goleta, Calif., native was not happy about what his favorite team had done.

“Gosh, man, I cried my eyes out when he got traded,” Duffy said. “That was a tough couple days in my childhood, so that could really paint a picture of how I felt about the Dodgers growing up.”

Duffy went to three or four Dodgers games a year at that point in his life, and from then on, he always tried to get his parents to take him to Dodger Stadium whenever Piazza returned to town, no matter what team the catcher was on at that time in his Hall of Fame career. That shows Duffy’s dedication and attachment to the Dodgers.

Now, Duffy gets to experience the surreal feeling of donning Dodger blue and playing for his childhood favorite team. After spending his first 11 big league seasons with Kansas City, the 32-year-old left-hander was dealt to Los Angeles ahead of the Trade Deadline, waiving his 10-and-5 rights for the move. And he couldn’t be more excited.

“Having it be full circle and being able to come play for them, I’m walking a little bit higher right now,” Duffy said. “It’s crazy, man. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”

Although Duffy joined his new teammates in Phoenix this weekend while the Dodgers took on the D-backs, it’s still going to be a while before he makes his debut. He’s been on the injured list since July 20 with a left flexor strain, his second stint on the IL this season due to the ailment.

Duffy believes he has “turned a corner” the past week and that he could be ready to pitch by late August or early September. But it’s possible he may not have time to be fully stretched out to start at that point.

For most of his Royals career, Duffy was a starter -- 204 of his 234 appearances for the team were starts -- and a solid one at that. This season, he’s gone 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 13 games (12 starts).

But if the Dodgers want to utilize Duffy out of the bullpen, he’s more than game.

“I’m at a point where I’m just going to do whatever they ask of me and get physically right, all the way, and then whatever’s needed, I’m all for it,” Duffy said. “They’ve got some guys that could cover some innings, and I feel like I could be helpful out of any role. As I’ve said before, the ‘pen is always exciting for me, I’ve always loved being in the bullpen. But whatever they’ve got for me, whatever the future holds, I’ll be ready for it.”

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Friday that the club had been targeting Duffy since the beginning of July. The injury didn’t change the team’s views on Duffy’s potential impact.

“We really like the arm talent and feel like he can slot in in October and really help us in our pursuit to win a championship,” Friedman said.

Duffy already knows what it takes to win a World Series title. He won the championship with the Royals in 2015, when they defied expectations and made an incredible run to the franchise’s first title since 1985.

Now, Duffy hopes to help the Dodgers win their second straight championship.

“It really feels as though everybody across the board, we just get to be ourselves. That’s the same way it was in K.C. -- just be you, it’s all about winning at the end of the day,” Duffy said. “It’s pretty encouraging, the amount of talent that they have in this clubhouse. And the lack of ego is pretty cool. It’s just a bunch of dudes that are put together to go win ballgames, and that’s what it’s all about.”