Royals catcher Salvador Perez’s return to spring camp was pushed back a day as a precaution.
While catching for Team Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic on Saturday, Perez’s left knee was injured in a freak play at the plate involving Royals teammate Drew Butera, who is with Team Italy.
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Perez needed assistance when he left the game, but tests performed in Mexico, where the game was played, showed inflammation but not any structural damage to the knee. Initially, Perez was expected to return to Arizona on Sunday, but that was pushed back.
“He’s flying in today,” manager Ned Yost said Monday. “The doctors didn’t want him flying right away, because there may be a little fluid on his knee and they wanted to give him a day to settle down before they flew him in here.”
Perez will undergo an MRI after returning to the Royals, but that won’t come until Tuesday at the earliest. The Royals training staff wants to make its own assessment.
“It’s 95 percent positive, but until they can get their hands on him (then) before they’ll release that last 5 percent.
The Royals on Monday optioned right-handed pitchers Miguel Almonte, Jake Junis and Kevin McCarthy to Class AAA Omaha. First baseman/outfielder was optioned to Samir Dueñez to Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Dueñez hit .235 with a home run and four RBIs in eight spring-training games.
McCarthy was 1-0 this spring with a 1.80 ERA in five innings (five games) with five strikeouts and three walks. Junis had a 15.19 ERA, while Almonte with 12.60 ERA.
The Royals have 51 active players in major-league camp, not including left-hander Brian Flynn, who is on the 60-day disabled list.
The Royals held their annual minor-league awards ceremony Monday at spring training camp.
Logan Moon received the Mike Sweeney Award (player who best represents the organization on and off the field). Moon, who graduated from Blue Springs South in 2010, batted .254 at Northwest Arkansas.
Junis won the Paul Splittorff Award for top pitcher. Junis, 24, was Northwest Arkansas’ Pitcher of the Year last season when he had a 3.25 ERA. Junis finished the year with Omaha after his promotion on Aug. 8.
Nick Heath was given the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year. At Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls, Heath stole 36 bases, which led the Pioneer League.
Yender Cáramo was the recipient of the Carlos Fortuna Award (player who is dedicated to improving his English, work ethic and conduct). Cáramo had a 2.45 ERA last season in 34 appearances (10 starts) at Northwest Arkansas.
Hunter Dozier was the George Brett Hitter of the Year (top position player in the organization). Dozier hit .296 between Omaha and Northwest Arkansas, and had a career-best in runs (79), hits (144), doubles (44) home runs (23) and RBI (75). He made his major-league debut on Sept. 12.
Cameron Gallagher won the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Award. Gallagher played 91 games at Northwest Arkansas in 2016, and made 79 starts at catcher. He led the Texas League in five categories, including caught-stealing percentage (.476, 30 of 63). Gallagher was added to the Royals’ 40-man roster after last season.
Northwest Arkansas general manager Justin Cole was given the Matt Minker Award (outstanding minor-league affiliate employee).
Naturals manager Vance Wilson received the Dick Howser Award (organization’s most outstanding player development person).
Special Assignment Scout Mitch Webster was the recipient of the Art Stewart Award (the organization’s most outstanding scout).