On Tuesday night, Royals catcher Salvador Perez was removed from a game because of tightness in his right side. One day later, he arrived at Comerica Park and attempted to talk his way back into the lineup.
Perez hoped to play Wednesday in the Royals’ series finale against the Detroit Tigers. Manager Ned Yost ultimately won the argument, offering Perez a day to rest his tender side.
“With an off day tomorrow, it makes all the sense,” Yost said, referencing the Royals’ day off on Thursday before a three-game series in Boston. “Could he play today? Yeah. Can he play in an emergency? Yeah.”
Perez felt tightness in his intercostal muscles in his right rib cage following a swing in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory. The issue does not concern his oblique muscle, a more serious ailment, Yost said. Yet the discomfort was severe enough that the Royals removed Perez from the game and had Class AAA Omaha catcher Cam Gallagher fly to Detroit to be ready for Wednesday’s game.
Yost said the Royals’ training staff thought Perez might need a game or two off. Gallagher would have taken a roster spot currently held by one of nine relievers. Ultimately, Gallagher was not needed. Perez experienced minimal tightness while going through a workout in the afternoon.
“He felt much, much better,” Yost said. “And we have (Gallagher) on the taxi squad, and we’ll send him back out (tomorrow).”
Perez, 27, is batting .285 with a .316 on-base percentage and 20 homers. He is on pace to smash his career high in homers (22) and recently became the first Royals batter to hit 20 homers in three straight seasons since Carlos Beltran in 2001-03. The increased production has come as his work load has lessened and his body has remained fresh.
Perez is on pace to make 123 starts behind the plate during the regular season, his fewest since 2012. He is also on pace to make 19 starts at designated hitter.