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Strahm, Junis' rotation spots in jeopardy

With Duffy returning soon, decision looms for Yost
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

DETROIT -- With left-hander Danny Duffy inching closer to ending his rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha, either left-hander Matt Strahm or rookie right-hander Jake Junis will be pushed from the rotation.

And that decision could come as soon as July 9 -- the day before the All-Star break -- given the timetable of Duffy's next two rehab assignments.

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DETROIT -- With left-hander Danny Duffy inching closer to ending his rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha, either left-hander Matt Strahm or rookie right-hander Jake Junis will be pushed from the rotation.

And that decision could come as soon as July 9 -- the day before the All-Star break -- given the timetable of Duffy's next two rehab assignments.

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The decision won't be easy. Neither Strahm nor Junis distinguished themselves in the Detroit series. Strahm lasted only 3 2/3 innings in the opener, giving up six hits and five runs. Junis made it through six innings Thursday, but he gave up seven hits and six runs in a 7-3 loss.

Video: KC@DET: Junis strikes out Avila to end the bottom 4th

Both Strahm -- who has made only three Major League starts -- and Junis displayed some of the inconsistencies one would expect from young and inexperienced starters.

"You're hoping [inconsistency] won't be the case," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But you know that it's quite a possibility."

Junis was off his game from the onset on Thursday. He gave up a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler, walked Alex Avila and surrendered a long home run to Justin Upton.

"I got ahead of Kinsler, and he hit a pitch that was down," Junis said. "Walked Avila, can't have that. Got behind Upton and left a pitch up that he handled."

Video: KC@DET: Upton opens scoring with three-run home run

Junis fell behind several hitters throughout the afternoon, and later, he gave up home runs to Andrew Romine and Kinsler. Junis wasn't missing the strike zone by much.

"Sometimes you get calls, and sometimes you don't," Junis said. "You have to battle through that."

Junis has given up nine home runs in 35 innings this season.

"I think it's just a matter of keeping the ball in the park for me," Junis said. "That's been the problem in some of the losses. Can't fall behind in the count."

Junis has learned that mistakes get punished far more often in the Majors than in the Minors.

"Absolutely," he said. "These are the best hitters in the world."

Video: KC@DET: McCarthy fans Avila in the 7th inning

But Junis did endear himself to Yost by making it through six innings, which spared the bullpen for the most part. The Royals play four games in the next three days against the Twins.

"We really needed some length out of him today," Yost said. "Going six innings was tremendous, that saved us some arms for the weekend."

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

Kansas City Royals, Jake Junis, Matt Strahm