Duda had been sidelined since May 14th due to plantar fasciitis. Although manager Ned Yost had initially given reporters a three-week stint as the high end for a DL stint, the recovery obviously took almost twice that long. The injury is often difficult to predict, of course; it’s affected other notable baseball players for unexpected lengths of time, including Albert Pujols, Corey Dickerson, and, recently, Jay Bruce.
Regardless, today’s return gives Duda ample time to establish his value as a potential trade chip for the rebuilding Royals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July. After an injury-plagued second half in 2017, the long-time Mets slugger was only able to secure a one-year, $3.5MM pact with Kansas City. Even prior to this season’s injury, Duda hasn’t shown the same type of power output he managed across the 2014-2015 campaigns, when he mashed 57 homers and put up a .249/.350/.483 batting line. His walk rate this year is barely half of his career average, as well. If he can return to form, there are plenty of teams who would likely be interested in adding him for such a small salary.
Notably, 26-year-old Hunter Dozier survived the roster crunch created by Duda’s reinstatement. Though he’s hit just .227/.281/.353 across 128 plate appearances and figures to see a dramatic reduction in his playing time, the team clearly favors him on the active roster over the 32-year-old Orlando, who’s made 907 trips to the plate for the Royals since debuting in 2015.