Lucas Duda hit a long home run on Opening Day and then we kinda forgot about him for awhile. He got off to a pretty good start, but after April 13, he hit .233/.296/.344 over his next 22 games before landing on the disabled list in mid-May with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of tissue in the foot he aggravated when the stepped on something in the clubhouse.
Well Duda is back, as the Royals activated him from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha. Orlando hit just .177/.207/.215 with 23 strikeouts in 22 games and his days with the Royals may be numbered with the emergence of Rosell Herrera.
Hunter Dozier had been getting most of the reps at first base with Duda out, so with him staying on the club, it will be interesting to see where he ends up getting playing time. Duda could end up at DH a lot, since the Royals have been using a rotation of players there. Royals designated hitters are batting just .243/.294/.394 this year, worse than all but three American League clubs.
The Royals will be counting on Duda to warm up a bit so he may be attractive enough for some club to be interested in him as a bench bat. The Royals shouldn’t expect much for him - Duda hit 30 home runs last year and was traded for a minor league reliever - but at this point they’ll take anything they can get. Duda, who earns $3.5 million this year, will be a free agent at the end of the season.