There was a twist in the Salvador Perez injury story.
Four days after freak play during a World Baseball Classic game in Jalisco, Mexico, left Perez gingerly limping from the field, he was back in the Royals clubhouse on Wednesday. Perez said that a second scan of his knee didn’t reveal any damage.
But manager Ned Yost said the bigger problem was that Perez had a hyperextended left elbow as a result of the collision with teammate Drew Butera.
Yost said Perez should be ready to go in about a week.
“We MRI’d his knee, and his knee actually came out really, really good,” Yost said. “But what’s bothering him more than his knee is his left elbow. Because he kind of hyperextended his left elbow on the tag, too. So he’s got a little fluid on that, and that’s probably what’s going to delay him a lot more than the knee will.”
There is no timetable set for Perez’s return to a game. But when asked if he would be ready for the opener against the Minnesota Twins on April 3, Perez left no doubt.
“Of course,” Perez said. “You think I’m going to miss Opening Day? I don’t think so.”
Perez was injured while playing for Team Venezuela. In the ninth inning of a game against Team Italy, Butera thought he had a chance to score in the bottom of the ninth inning, but he slowed up when approached the plate and ran into Perez.
An MRI exam in Mexico showed inflammation, but no structural damage in his left knee. Perez had a second MRI on Tuesday after returning to camp.
“Everything is good just like the first one,” Perez said. “I’m sore a little bit, but I’m good.”
Team Italy was eliminated in the WBC, so Butera was back in the Royals clubhouse on Wednesday. He had kept in constant contact with Perez after the play.
“As soon as it happened, I went over to their clubhouse and talked to him, and I talked to him after he got the MRI and a few times in between before I got back here today,” Butera said.
“I’ll take him out to dinner. He’s obviously a great teammate, a great friend. We’ve talked about it a lot.”
Perez said there was no reason to apologize.
“It was part of the game,” Perez said. “He didn’t have to, but he did it. He was crying. … I told him it’s part of the game. You play hard. Things happen sometimes. For some reason it happened.”