Catcher Salvy Perez is back with the Royals and, using bench coach Chino Cadahia as a translator, contends he feels great and is expecting great things.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The only question now is how soon can he be ready for everyday duty?
The trainers are saying three days a week, manager Ned Yost said, and Im thinking five days a week. So Ill probably catch him, up through the All-Star break, four days a week.
Perez, 22, missed the seasons first 67 games after suffering torn cartilage in his left knee on March 13 prior to a spring training in Surprise, Ariz. He rejoins the active roster after batting .340 in 12 games at Class AAA Omaha on a minor-league rehab assignment.
The rehab went more than great, he said, and Im happy to be back here. Im feeling no pain whatsoever. Im expecting great things. I had a lot of at-bats in the minor leagues, and Im ready to go.
Perez went right into the lineup Friday when the Royals opened a three-game weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium. He singled his first time up and hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat.
Yost said Perez is unlikely to play today but should return Sunday to the lineup.
The Royals cleared space for Perezs return from the 60-day disabled list by optioning left-handed reliever Tommy Hottovy to Omaha and shifting outfielder Lorenzo Cain from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The move involving Cain amounts to a clerical transaction since he has already served 60 days on the disabled list. He is currently on a rehab assignment at Class AA Northwest Arkansas in his recovery from a torn left hip flexor and eligible to return at any time.
Players on the 60-day list do not count against the 40-man limit for a clubs organizational roster.
Activating Perez means the Royals, for now, are carrying three catchers on their 25-man roster, but club officials see no reason to make an immediate choice between Brayan Peña or Humberto Quintero as their backup.
You can move one of those guys on, Yost said, but if something happens, were back in the same boat. So were trying to keep all of our protection (available). Right now, we can afford to.
For how long?
Were going day to day, Yost said. Im going to have three days a week when one of those other guys is going to start. Ive also got Brayan who can pinch-hit for Q, and Ive got Q who can defend for Brayan. Well mix and match.
Peña, 30, is batting .250 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 38 games, while Quintero, 32, is batting .230 with one homer and 19 RBIs in 42 games.
Quintero is considered the better defensive catcher, but Peña is a switch-hitter and will remain under the clubs control next year through arbitration. Quintero will be a free agent after the season.
Perez suffered the injury just 15 days after signing a five-year contract extension for $7 million that also includes three club option years that could bolster the deals base value to $21.75 million.
I dont even want to think about that, he said, but (the injury was) one of the most frustrating things Ive ever had to go through. Im ready to do anything to help the club out.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.