SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Danny Duffy took a major step toward his return to the Royals' pitching staff on Tuesday, throwing from the mound for the first time since his Tommy John surgery.
Duffy threw 18 pitches to bullpen catcher Bill Duplissea during the Royals' first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
"It went really well," Duffy said. "I'm really happy with where my effort was and I was surprised at how under control I was. It felt really good. It was really exciting after a whole year of not pitching."
Duffy, who underwent surgery last June, will rest about three days before throwing again.
Duffy and fellow starter Felipe Paulino, who had a similar surgery, are expected to be ready around midseason.
"You cannot get enough starting pitching because, over the course of a year, something is going to happen and you're always going to need it," manager Ned Yost said. "What Duffy and Paulino are is just great insurance policies that are a benefit to us around the All-Star break. But it's nothing to worry about right now. Trust me. I am extremely pleased that we have them both out there and they'll be available around the All-Star break."
Carnival holding Escobar in Venezuela
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Alcides Escobar will miss at least the Royals' first full-squad workout on Friday, manager Ned Yost said Tuesday.
Reason: It's Carnival time and he's stuck in Venezuela.
"He just got married and he was trying to get a visa for his wife to come to the United States," Yost said. "But since it's Carnival time in Venezuela, the visa office will not re-open until Friday. So he's got to be there to sign for it, then he's going to catch a plane and be here Friday night."
Kansas City infielders and outfielders have a reporting date of Thursday with the first scheduled workout on Friday.
"So he'll miss the first day, but he played winter ball and everything so he doesn't have a lot of catching up to do," Yost said.
All of the Royals pitchers and catchers were on time for the start of their drills on Tuesday, but Escobar will be tardy for the party on Friday.
"I tried to explain to him that it's Carnival time here, too -- just come on," Yost said.
Johnson joins Royals' 40-man roster from Rays
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Infielder/outfielder Elliot Johnson is the latest player to join the Royals' 40-man roster.
Johnson, 29, was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday as the player to be named in the trade that brought pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.
"He's a great makeup guy, a versatile player -- can play just about any position on the field," manager Ned Yost said of Johnson. "A switch-hitter, always was a tough out when we played against them. A smart player."
To make room for Johnson, the Royals placed pitcher Felipe Paulino on the 60-day disabled list. Paulino is currently in rehabilitation after Tommy John surgery. He'll be eligible for reinstatement on June 1, but is not expected to be ready to pitch until later.
Johnson, a switch-hitter, hit .242 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 123 games for the Rays last season. He also swiped 18 bases in 24 attempts. He started 68 games at shortstop but also played second base, third base and the outfield.
In 200 games with Tampa Bay, he batted .223.
Single-game tickets to go on sale Saturday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Single-game tickets for the Royals' regular season will go on sale on Saturday at 10 a.m. CT. A limited number of tickets are available for the home opener on April 8 against the Twins.
Fans purchasing tickets at royals.com also will have the option of buying one of three five-game ticket packages which include an Opening Day ticket.
Single-game tickets also are available at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Saturday. Fans may arrive at the stadium no earlier than 7 a.m. and park in Lot M. No overnight parking is permitted.
A random drawing will be held for purchasing tickets at the stadium. Fans wishing to take part must obtain a wristband at the Gate C lobby on Thursday (noon to 5 p.m.), Friday (noon to 5 p.m.) or Saturday (8 to 9 a.m.). The drawing will determine the order of purchase for fans who will have a chance to buy four Opening Day tickets as long as supplies last.
Ticket sales also will be available by phone at 1-800-6ROYALS and at 26 metro area Hy-Vee stories.
The Royals this year will continue a variable pricing structure for all single-game sales, with games categorized as premier or regular games. Ticket prices for each game will be adjusted on a game-by-game basis based on a variety of market conditions such as team performance, opponent, pitching matchup, weather and day of the week.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.