Ball Star

Royals' Salvador Perez getting work at first base in Venezuela

Updated: 2014-01-30T19:03:58Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Remember when Salvy Perez played first base in the Royals’ season finale at Chicago? At the time, manager Ned Yost said it was a preview of things to come this winter.

Sure enough Perez is playing for Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League and has spent the majority of his time at first base.

However, Perez’s work at first base has less to do with the Royals’ future plans for their All-Star catcher than simply making sure he is not catching too many games this year.

“Don’t read anything into it,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s playing winter ball and wants to play winter ball. It’s what a lot of the kids from Latin America do.

“If he was our center fielder, he’d be playing center field. If he was a third baseman, he’d be playing third. But he’s a catcher and he just happens to be athletic enough to play another position and we just don’t want him catching.”

Perez has appeared in 21 games at first base, caught seven times and has been a designated hitter in four games. A quick scan of the box scores showed Perez made an error in each of his first two games at first base, but he’s been flawless ever since.

It seems Perez, 23, has his eye on being a first baseman in the future.

"I'd like to play two positions in the majors ... so I would like to be catcher once or twice a week,” Perez told El Universal in November.

However, Ultimas Noticias reported that Perez’s time at first base will be reduced.

Tony De Francesco, Perez’s manager, told Ultimas Noticias earlier this month (translation via my brother): “The Royals spoke with Salvador and wanted to be assured that there is not a lot of work for him at first base. For that reason today I (will) alternate Alex (Cabrera) and Hector (Sanchez). I understand that he is a franchise player and Kansas City doesn't want him to get hurt.”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff

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