Catcher Drew Butera was scratched from the lineup Sunday after experiencing tightness in his left oblique, the Royals announced before the club’s game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium.
The injury is not considered serious. Butera was listed as day to day. He was slated to start for the first time this spring as starter Salvador Perez received a day off following Saturday’s Cactus League opener.
“He was catching a side (session) the other day and somebody spiked a fastball and hit him in the side,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s been sore and the bruise has just tightened up on him.”
Perez could play every other day as he prepares to compete for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, Yost said. Perez will leave Royals camp next week.
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Butera was replaced in the lineup Sunday by Cam Gallagher, a former second-round pick who was added to the 40-man roster this offseason after spending the 2016 season at Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Dozier sees first action at first base
Hunter Dozier recorded a hit for the second straight day on Sunday while making his first start at first base. One day after coming off the bench and replacing Cheslor Cuthbert at third base in the Royals’ Cactus League opener, Dozier gave a day off to first baseman Eric Hosmer in the club’s 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Dozier, 25, is expected to see time at third base, first base and the outfield this spring. The former first-round pick has looked comfortable at the plate, shaking off a hand injury that surfaced last September and sidelined him during winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Dozier called the injury a “bone contusion” on the top of his left hand. It flared up during his first week in winter ball, he said.
“I was there for like two weeks and it really didn’t feel much better down there,” Dozier said. “So then they just shut me down from hitting for like three weeks. And then I started hitting in December, and it felt really good.”
Vargas slated to return to mound
After two days of looking at young pitching prospects, the Royals will turn back to their veterans beginning on Monday.
Left-hander Jason Vargas, a rotation lock, is set to start against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria on Monday afternoon. Left-hander Danny Duffy will make his first start of the spring on Tuesday. Right-hander Nathan Karns, who is vying with Travis Wood and Chris Young for the final rotation spot, will start Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs in Surprise. Young and Wood will both pitch Thursday.