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Duffy ready for starter or relief role with Royals

Left-hander to battle for rotation spot after excelling in bullpen in '15
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- While Royals left-hander Danny Duffy has been told he will get every chance to grab a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, the reality is that the addition of right-hander Ian Kennedy reduces those odds.

Duffy now will be in a fight for one of the two final rotation spots with right-handers Chris Young, Kris Medlen and Dillon Gee.

KANSAS CITY -- While Royals left-hander Danny Duffy has been told he will get every chance to grab a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, the reality is that the addition of right-hander Ian Kennedy reduces those odds.

Duffy now will be in a fight for one of the two final rotation spots with right-handers Chris Young, Kris Medlen and Dillon Gee.

Duffy, however, is not going to fret about the competition. Whether he ends up in the rotation or the bullpen, Duffy is ready for either.

"I can't really go in with either mindset," Duffy said at the team's FanFest last weekend. "I need to go in thinking 'whatever.' I have a lot of confidence I can excel in either role.

"I learned a lot from being in the 'pen. And I learned a lot from my failures in the rotation. I've had some pretty good stretches as a starter. But out in the bullpen, I learned a lot, as well. I'm at the point where, 'Just give me a spot and I'll do whatever I can to make the team better.'"

Duffy certainly teased everyone with some dominating stretches as a starter. From July through mid-August, he went 7-1 with a 2.59 ERA.

But soon after, the wheels came off Duffy's game. He struggled with command, mostly with his fastball, he said. During a six-game stretch, Duffy walked 13 batters in 30 innings, gave up 35 hits and allowed 18 runs.

By mid-September, after another short outing, Duffy was moved to the bullpen.

Instead of wallowing, Duffy refocused. In six bullpen outings, he didn't allow a run.

"I listened a lot to Wade Davis and Ryan Madson," Duffy said. "They really educated me on the bullpen role. Those are the guys you listen to."

Duffy has made it clear he wants to do whatever helps the team win. He wants nothing more than to get back to the World Series for a third straight year. Duffy knows the Royals will be the hunted ones, again.

"The only people who didn't think we were hunted last year were the people who put the projections together," Duffy said. "We felt we were the team to beat last year. The humbleness was there, trust me, but we knew we had to defend the American League title. We felt hunted last year. It'll be amplified this time around."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy