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Duffy gets best of Hosmer in first at-bat as foes

Friendship endures between starter and first baseman, now with SD
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The long-awaited showdown between former teammates Danny Duffy and Eric Hosmer turned out to be a mismatch.

Duffy started for the Royals on Friday and faced Hosmer, now with the Padres, in the bottom of the second inning. The two hadn't faced each since an intrasquad game in Spring Training many years ago when Hosmer launched what Duffy called a "500-foot homer."

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The long-awaited showdown between former teammates Danny Duffy and Eric Hosmer turned out to be a mismatch.

Duffy started for the Royals on Friday and faced Hosmer, now with the Padres, in the bottom of the second inning. The two hadn't faced each since an intrasquad game in Spring Training many years ago when Hosmer launched what Duffy called a "500-foot homer."

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This time Duffy got his revenge. He challenged Hosmer with three straight fastballs (94, 93, 94 mph). Hosmer was late on the first two, fouling them off. Hosmer was late on the third fastball, too, and popped out to shortstop.

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As Hosmer jogged to the dugout, Duffy playfully teased him and said, "Jam."

"I don't think he heard me," Duffy said, smiling.

Both Duffy and Hosmer, who are good friends off the field, said they enjoyed not only facing each other, but just seeing each other in person again. The Royals, by the way, finally fell, 13-5, in their first Cactus League loss. Jorge Bonifacio and Salvador Perez hit home runs.

"He's always a guy who is there for you," Hosmer said of Duffy, whom Hosmer called his best teammate ever. "… but just seeing all these guys again was great. It's family. It goes way past baseball. We all grew up together. We went from 18-year-olds to grown men together."

Duffy said his friendship certainly will endure Hosmer wearing another uniform.

Video: KC@SD: Hosmer pops up in his first at-bat vs. Royals

"He's as special of a teammate as there is," Duffy said. "I never thought I'd have to face him. But that would have been life in a perfect world. He had to do what's best for him."

Hosmer went 1-for-4 against his old team with an RBI groundout and a double.

It's about time

Right-hander Ian Kennedy finally will make his first start Saturday.

Catcher Perez kidded Kennedy a couple of days ago, "Are you ever going to play?"

Manager Ned Yost normally brings along his starters slowly to begin camp, then builds them up near 90-100 pitches by the end of camp.

"It'll just be good to finally get out there," Kennedy said. "Seems like it's been a long time."

Camp battles

Yost has not decided on his leadoff man, but it would appear Alex Gordon, a career. 340 on-base hitter, is in the running. Gordon walked and was hit by a pitch in his first two plate appearances Friday.

Up next

The Royals return to Surprise Stadium for a 2:05 p.m. CT matchup Saturday against the White Sox as Kennedy gets the start. Also expected to throw are left-handers Brian Flynn and Eric Stout, and right-handers Brandon Maurer, Kelvin Herrera, Kevin McCarthy and Mike Broadway.

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

MLB, Kansas City Royals