A Team Venezuela cap atop his head, a hooded sweatshirt on his back, Salvador Perez strolled into the interview room on the first floor of Kauffman Stadium on Monday afternoon. Making his first public comments since going on the disabled list on Sunday, Perez offered no visible signs of discomfort and no noticeable pain stemming from a strained intercostal muscle in his right side.
Yet as he sat down in a chair and leaned toward a microphone, he conceded that the pain was still present and still significant.
“Yesterday was a little pain … ” he said. “Today the pain has gone down a little bit. I think the injection has started to [take hold].”
The Royals have yet to offer a public timetable for Perez’s recovery. That did not change on Monday. In interviews this weekend, manager Ned Yost indicated that Perez could miss anywhere from two to four weeks. He clarified on Sunday that four weeks was the “absolute” worst-case scenario.
Three days after sustaining the strain in a loss on Friday, Perez said he was hopeful that he would be back shortly after his 10-day stint day on the disabled list was over.
“We don’t have [a timetable] right now,” he said. “We don’t know exactly what day I’m going to come back, but I’m just working hard with the trainer. We’re going to see.”
Perez will be eligible to return from the disabled list on Aug. 15. One day later, the Royals will conclude a three-game series at Oakland before a day off on Aug. 17. They will open a three-game series against first-place Cleveland on Aug. 18 at Kauffman Stadium.
“I just got to wait 10 days and see where we are,” Perez said. “And hopefully it’s only 10 days.”
It could be longer. As he spoke on Monday, Perez clarified a number of details regarding his injury. He had battled tightness in his left and right side since May, describing the pain as “a little pinch.” He missed a handful of games while resting his side. Yet on Friday, he aggravated his right side while swinging at a 2-0 fastball from Seattle starter James Paxton in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The pain, Perez said, does not significantly affect his ability to play behind the plate. It surfaces any time he swings and misses.
“That’s when I feel it more,” he said.
When asked if additional rest might have healed the injury sooner, Perez gently pushed back. He referenced a conversation where head trainer Nick Kenney told him that he would’ve likely needed a month of rest to fully heal the tightness and tweaks in his intercostal muscles.
“[We’re] in the season,” Perez said. “We’re fighting for another chance to be in the playoffs. It’s hard. They know me, I like to play.”
For now, the Royals will move forward with backup Drew Butera and rookie Cam Gallagher filling in for Perez. On Monday, Butera started against the St. Louis Cardinals as the club opened a four-game series split between Kansas City and St. Louis. Yost, however, would not commit to any plan for how he might split up the playing time.
“I see Drew catching today,” Yost said. “I’m not setting anything further than today. We go day to day with it. We’ll see how it goes.”