OVERLAND PARK — Royals pitcher Danny Duffy refused to make any excuses after he was cited for driving under the influence in a Kansas City suburb last weekend, an embarrassing headache for a club already struggling on the field.
Smart move, too, because his boss wasn’t in the mood to hear any.
“Look, when these types of situations happen, I’m not interested in any alibis,” said Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who spoke Tuesday shortly after Duffy read a statement in which he expressed regret and asked for forgiveness from his fans. “I’m not interested in any excuses. There are no excuses.”
Duffy had left the Royals’ road trip to return to Kansas City for an MRI exam on his ailing left elbow. The team was playing a three-game series in Cleveland that concluded Sunday and was headed home at about the same time Duffy was cited by police.
Duffy did not discuss the circumstances surrounding the incident, including whether alcohol was a factor.
“This is never a good situation to come about,” said Duffy, whose first appearance in municipal court is Sept. 19. “This is something that’s very difficult to go through and when everything comes out and shakes out, I’m going to be better because of it.”
The personable Duffy is one of the organization’s most popular players, not only for his on-field production but for his work in the community. He has raised thousands of dollars for charities ranging from animal shelters to children’s hospitals, and he’s donated his time to several other initiatives.
“The most important thing right now is to be accountable,” Moore said. “These guys are human beings. They make mistakes. And for us to put our faith in a person or an athlete as a perfect vessel, as someone who is always going to make the right choices, it’s a failed way to live your life.”
Duffy signed a $65 million, five-year contract extension earlier this year, a deal that many believed was below market value. The left-hander said he signed the contract because of the way the Kansas City community embraced him during his up-and-down career, which included a period away from the game and a season lost to Tommy John surgery.
Duffy was 8-8 with a 3.78 ERA when he went on the disabled list last Saturday with pain in his left elbow. The MRI exam revealed no structural damage, and the Royals hoped Duffy would only miss one start.
“Anything that was concerning, we would have shut him down right from the get-go,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It got to the point where we needed to take a pause.”
The Royals were in desperate need of some positive news after losing 12-0 to the Rays on Monday night, the fourth straight game in which they were shut out. They had not scored in 43 innings heading into Tuesday night’s game against Tampa Bay, five off the major league record held by the 1968 Cubs and 1906 Athletics.
The 1992 Cubs were the last team to be shut out in four straight games, and it hasn’t happened in the AL since the 1964 Washington Senators — nine years before the adoption of the designated hitter.
Duffy alluded to the team’s problems but said there is never a good time for such legal trouble.
“I’m standing on a lot of peoples’ shoulders right now, and a lot of people have done a lot of things to get me to where I’m at, and to those people too — let the facts shake out,” Duffy said. “We’ll take care of this and we’ll continue to do great things, I can promise you that.”