CLEVELAND — There might be no opposing player the Royals despise more than Indians closer Chris Perez, who stirred the pot again Monday by waving his hand in front of his face — “you can’t see me” — after striking out Jarrod Dyson in the ninth inning.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Dyson admitted he wasn’t happy.
“But you can’t say anything if you don’t win,” he said. “Right now, I’ve just got to let my bat do the talking. I hope I get a chance.”
Perez saw nothing wrong with the gesture and said it was aimed at the other Cleveland relievers. He also said he often used the gesture in the past — as far back as his college days at Miami.
“If (Dyson) took offense to it — oh, well,” Perez said prior to Tuesday’s game. “It happened. It’s the same as if a hitter hits a home run, and he comes back to the dugout and does all the hand-slapping stuff (with teammates).”
“We see that as pitchers, and we don’t take offense to it because he hit a home run.”
That’s not how the Royals saw it.
“That’s just a sorry guy looking to be loved,” catcher Brayan Peña said. “Nobody pays any attention to him so he has to do stuff like that. You don’t see guys who people know, guys like Mariano Rivera, do that, do you?”
This is far from the first time Perez tweaked the Royals. He was fined $750 earlier in the season by Major League Baseball for a tweet aimed at the Royals that “demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of the players on both clubs.”
That came after an April 14 game at Kauffman Stadium in which the teams twice engaged in bench-clearing scrums after players were hit by pitches.
Perez tweeted: “Huge team win tonight; time for a sweep to tell the Royals it’s not `Our Time’, it’s #TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period.”
Perez also irritated the Royals recently when, in criticizing the lack of attendance by Indians’ fans, he observed: “We could be the Pirates or the Royals, who haven’t won anything in 20 years.”
That might be unkind, but it’s not untrue. Either way, Perez dismissed the suggestion that his comments would motivate the Royals.
“What, they’re not trying to get me now?” he asked. “Every ninth inning, they’re trying to get me. I’m the closer. They’re trying to win the game. … It could work to my advantage, because they might try to do too much.
“I really don’t care. The way I look at it is, every time I pitch, they’re trying to get me. And if they’re not, it’s on them. They should try to get me every time.”
Left-hander Jonathan Sánchez began his minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday night by retiring the first 13 hitters while pitching for Class AAA Omaha against Iowa. The streak ended on a Josh Vitters home run.
His final line: 52/3 innings, one run, three hits, five strikeouts and one walk while throwing 48 of 76 pitches for strikes. Sánchez was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis after a May 7 loss to Boston at Kauffman Stadium.
The next step for the Royals is to decide whether Sánchez requires another rehab start.
Omaha built a 4-1 lead before losing 5-4 when veteran lefty Doug Davis, who recently signed a minor-league deal, gave up four runs in 11/3 innings after replacing Sánchez.
Betancourt to Omaha
Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt went two for four with a two-run homer in Omaha’s loss after being reassigned earlier in the day from Class AA Northwest Arkansas to continue his rehab playing assignment.
The move stemmed from convenience: Omaha opened a homestand on Tuesday, while Northwest Arkansas is hitting the road. Betancourt is recovering from a high right ankle sprain diagnosed after a May 1 game in Detroit.
He went five for 15 in four games for the Naturals after beginning his assignment on May 24.
Rules permit non-pitchers to spend up to 20 days in the minors on rehab assignment. The limit for pitchers is 30 days.
Plans for left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy to undergo elbow surgery Thursday in Los Angeles were postponed because he has strep throat. The operation, to be performed by Lewis Yocum, will be rescheduled once Duffy recovers.
Duffy, 23, was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament after exiting a May 13 start in Chicago in the first inning because of an injured elbow.
The operation to replace the ligament is commonly known as Tommy John surgery and typically requires a recovery period of 10 to 14 months.
Switch at second
Johnny Giavotella started at second base against Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson, which manager Ned Yost confirmed is a step back from previous plans for a straight platoon between Giavotella and Irving Falu at the position.
All eight of Giavotella’s previous starts since his May 9 recall from Class AAA Omaha occurred when the opponent started a left-handed pitcher. He entered Tuesday batting just .187 with seven hits in 37 at-bats.
He responded by going two for five in Tuesday’s 8-2 victory over the Indians.
Giavotella, 24, was the organization’s minor-league player of the year in 2011 and was batting .331 this season at Omaha with five homers and 25 RBIs in 31 games when recalled.
Falu had at least one hit in each of his first nine games after his May 3 arrival from Omaha but was on a zero-for-11 binge entering Tuesday’s game. He also made a costly error in Monday’s 8-5 loss to the Indians.
Want hitting lessons from Eric Hosmer? Fielding lessons from Alex Gordon? Pitching lessons from Bruce Chen? How about the chance to watch a game with George Brett from a Kauffman Stadium suite?
Those are just some of the items up for bid June 13 in the Broadcast Auction sponsored by Royals Charities and Fox Sports Kansas City. All proceeds benefit Royals Charities.
Further details are available online at Royals.com.
Class A Wilmington right-hander Greg Billo was picked as the pitcher of the week for May 21-27 in the Carolina League after pitching seven shutout innings against Potomac in his only start.
Billo, 21, allowed two hits while striking out five and walking one. He is 4-3 overall with a 4.53 ERA in 10 games, including nine starts.
The Royals selected Billo in the 28th round of the 2008 draft. He was the pitcher of the year for his club in 2009 at short-season Burlington and last year at Class A Kane County.
It was six years ago Wedneday — May 30, 2006 — that the Royals hired Dayton Moore to be the sixth general manager in franchise history. Moore was, at the time, an assistant general manager in Atlanta. He assumed his new duties on June 8.
Moore, now 45, agreed to a five-year contract with an option for 2011. He agreed to a four-year extension through 2014, on Aug. 31, 2009.
The franchise’s five previous general managers: Cedric Tallis (1969-June 1974), Joe Burke (June 1974-October 1981), John Schuerholz (October 1981-October 1990), Herk Robinson (October 1990-June 2000) and Allard Baird (June 2000-May 2006).
• The Royals won despite committing three errors for the second consecutive game. They had not had more than two errors in a game this season prior to Monday’s 8-5 loss to the Indians. The last time they had successive three-error games was June 17-18, 2009, against Arizona at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals lost both of those games.
• Will Smith is the 265th pitcher in Royals history to record a victory.
• Aaron Crow pitched a one-two-three ninth inning and has a 1.83 ERA over his last 21 appearances (four earned runs in 192/3 innings).
• Cleveland catcher Luke Carlin became the first player to reach base three times on an error since Atlanta catcher Brian McCann on Sept. 2, 2009, at Florida.
To reach Bob Dutton, call 816-234-4352 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/Royals_Report.