Danny Duffy's days as a Kansas City Royal ended with a handshake and a good luck wish.
The Royals clearly will be happy if the lefthander decides to return to baseball. But after Duffy made it clear that he wanted to go in a different direction with his life, the Royals' accepted his explanation and wished him luck in whatever he decides to do.
Duffy approached Royals officials about a week ago to tell them he was thinking of quitting baseball, a decision he had wrestled with during the offseason. The team asked him to think it over for a couple of days, which he did. But on Monday he told the team he was confident in his decision to leave.
"We didn't try to talk him out of it. We tried to talk him through it," said J.J. Picollo, the Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development. "We wanted him to think about every possibility. We tried to support him as much as we can. We respect (the decision)."
Picollo said the organization goes through this several times every year, when a minor leaguer decides he'd like to do something other than ride buses through a minor league season. Royals minor league infielder Kyle Martin and outfielder Joe Dickerson made similar decisions last year.
Picollo said Duffy talked about possibly going to college and about the desire to be closer to his family in California.
"We do so many things with our minor league players talking about character and preparing for life," Picollo said. "Whether you're someone like George Brett with a 20-year career or someone who plays half a season, there is a lot of life to live after baseball. So when you've got a guy who feels like he needs to go in another direction, we have to practice what we preach."
In Duffy's case, the Royals are hopeful that at some point he may decide to give baseball another try.
"We're optimistic about that, but we can't go to bed every night thinking Duffy will be back tomorrow," Picollo said.
Attempts to reach Duffy have been unsuccessful.
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