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Duffy vows to go all-in to return to form in 2019

Left-hander shut down for season with left shoulder impingement
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- When Royals left-hander Danny Duffy learned he would be shut down for the season last week in Cleveland because of yet another case of left shoulder impingement, he made up his mind that changes were in order.

Duffy immediately vowed to go all-in this offseason to strengthen his shoulder and rotator cuff to avoid the numerous trips to the disabled list he has made the last two seasons.

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KANSAS CITY -- When Royals left-hander Danny Duffy learned he would be shut down for the season last week in Cleveland because of yet another case of left shoulder impingement, he made up his mind that changes were in order.

Duffy immediately vowed to go all-in this offseason to strengthen his shoulder and rotator cuff to avoid the numerous trips to the disabled list he has made the last two seasons.

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"I am going to let it eat this offseason," Duffy told MLB.com. "The past is behind me and I am ready to be that guy again, the guy I was two years ago."

What Duffy covets most, of course, is a return to the type of dynamic starter he was in 2016 when he threw almost 180 innings, went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA and set a club record with 16 strikeouts in a game against Tampa Bay.

"I was throwing 96-97 [mph] back then," Duffy said, almost wistfully.

Video: KC@TB: Duffy's 16 strikeouts in 16 seconds

Those velocities have dipped in the last two seasons. His four-seam fastball dropped at times to 89-91 mph this season. And the results weren't pretty. His season ended at 8-12 with a 4.88 ERA.

Duffy, who will turn 30 in December, believes he needs "explosiveness" in his body, not just his arm, to achieve the 96-97 velocity again.

The first step will be to work with Royals strength and conditioning coach Ryan Stoneberg and head trainer Nick Kenney to develop a precise offseason program that will target the issue -- strength and power from the rotator cuff.

"I will cut down on the running and substitute with more [rotator] cuff work, [stretch] bands, heavy-hand weights," Duffy said. "If I do running, maybe I'll bring a backpack with me with some bands in it and mix it up. Anything we can do to be more explosive. I know I have a lot of it left in me. I know that explosiveness is still in there."

Duffy said it was difficult to do the amount of training he wanted to do last season. He was trying to put his life back together after pleading guilty to driving under the influence last offseason. He was also recovering from elbow surgery in early October.

"Last offseason was basically just a yard sale, for lack of a better term, for me," Duffy said. "I was just trying to handle everything off the field. And also I had surgery. I wasn't ready to get into the shape I wanted to because I was limited, mobility-wise and strength-wise. The bone chip they took out was like a shark tooth. I had to wait.

"And so I didn't have it this year. I think it's still in me. I know it is. I tapped out. I mean I didn't tap out -- my body tapped out. But I am going to give everything I got this offseason."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy