PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Danny Duffy stepped off the big stage and back into spring training Friday.
Following a stint with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic, Duffy allowed three runs over six innings for the Kansas City Royals in a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
It was Duffy's first start with the Royals since March 5 because of the international tournament. He allowed three hits and a walk.
''This might be my first quality start in spring training ever,'' Duffy said. ''I'm excited about that. Everything clicked in the fourth, fifth and sixth. I wanted to go back out for the seventh, but we threw a few more pitches in the `pen. Today, I'm very pleased with the results.''
Duffy went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two WBC outings, striking out eight over eight innings. He picked up the victory against the Dominican Republic in the semifinals.
Duffy believes the tournament's high intensity will help him during the season. He had to ''defuse a lot of situations'' at the WBC, like when the Dominicans had runners on second and third with nobody out in the second inning.
''We got out of it,'' Duffy said. ''And it didn't really feel like a gigantic victory because I know I can do it.''
The competitive reps were beneficial, he said, but it did cost him the chance to fine-tune his repertoire. Duffy was in a ''grip it and rip it kind of mentality'' because those games were all about winning, but now that he's back in spring training, he's getting a chance to tinker ahead of opening day.
He worked Friday on his sinking fastball, a pitch that failed him in the third inning when he gave up three runs on two doubles and Kyle Seager's home run.
''I just wanted to work on certain things I might utilize during the season,'' Duffy said. ''We worked on it for sure, but they didn't do what I wanted them to do.''
Duffy retired the final 11 batters he faced before exiting after 86 pitches.
''Danny was really good,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''He elevated a couple of mistakes fastballs in the third, which cost him three runs. But besides that, I thought he threw the ball really, really well.''
Yost has yet to announce his opening day starter, but Duffy is on schedule to start the April 3 game in Minnesota. He is scheduled to throw 65 pitches Wednesday in the Royals' final game in Arizona.
Not only did Duffy return, but Salvador Perez was behind the plate for the first time since March 12th when he injured his left knee and left elbow in a collision at the plate while playing for Venezuela in the WBC against Italy. Strangely, it was Royals backup Drew Butera that collided with Perez.
''Everything was good, everything was perfect,'' Perez said.
Perez said he would like to get more plate appearances before the season. He has only 18 at-bats in spring training.
Paulo Orlando and Jorge Soler homered for the Royals.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has a swollen right elbow after being hit by a pitch in the WBC title game Wednesday and did not play. He'll be reevaluated Saturday.