There have been many obstacles in Danny Duffy's short career, whether it was a brief retirement in 2010 or a season-ending injury last year. However, the left-hander will return to the mound for the Royals on Wednesday night to face the Twins at Kauffman Stadium in a rubber match following Minnesota's 7-0 win on Tuesday.
Duffy will start in place of Wade Davis, who is away for the funeral of his stepbrother. The southpaw hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since May 13, 2012, when he left the game with a sore left elbow that later required Tommy John surgery.
"It's been long," Duffy said. "It hasn't been one that most people take, in the way I took it, but we got here and that's all that matters. I'm proud to be able to say I'm part of this team."
Duffy went 3-0 with a 4.21 ERA in 10 appearances (eight starts) for Triple-A Omaha this season while striking out 49 in 47 innings.
"It means a lot to get back here and I've gotten a lot of feedback from people and hearing a lot of welcomes," Duffy said. "I'm really excited to get the ball and get down to business and lock in. But right now, I'm just really happy to be back with the guys."
Samuel Deduno will take the mound for the Twins, and he's been dominant in his past four starts. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA during that span.
"They were swinging and missing -- and then looking back not knowing where the pitches were coming from," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after one of Deduno's recent starts. "His ball has a lot of movement. Guys don't like to face him."
Twins: Willingham may return on Friday
While outfielder Josh Willingham was originally expected to return to the Twins on Saturday, he may play in the second game of Friday's doubleheader against the White Sox.
"There's a possibility we could activate him in between games," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "We just need a shot in the arm."
The Twins will be able to call up a 26th player because of the doubleheader, but will have to make a corresponding roster move once Willingham is activated from the 15-day disabled list. Willingham had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 3 and is 0-for-6 in two rehab games at Triple-A Rochester.
• Right-hander Cole De Vries is set to make a rehab start with Class A Fort Myers in a doubleheader on Sunday. He posted a 4.11 ERA in 17 appearances with the Twins last year and tossed three scoreless innings with the Gulf Coast League Twins on Monday.
Royals: Perez is improving
Catcher Salvador Perez is expected to start light workouts on Wednesday after waking up without a headache on Tuesday.
Perez sustained a low-grade concussion after being hit in the mask on Saturday and is on the seven-day disabled list.
"He feels better," manager Ned Yost said on Tuesday. "He'll come in today and take it easy. If he feels good again tomorrow we'll start light workouts, and hopefully if that's the case we're probably looking at seven days which is great news."
• Deduno has allowed one run on nine hits in two starts against the Royals this season over 13 innings.
• Eric Hosmer, who went 2-for-3 on Tuesday, is batting .454 with one home run and six RBIs in his last five games.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.