Royals

The Royals' offense has sorely missed Salvador Perez. His return is finally near

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez walks onto the field during opening day pregame ceremonies before a game against the Chicago White Sox on March 29, 2018, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez walks onto the field during opening day pregame ceremonies before a game against the Chicago White Sox on March 29, 2018, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. jsleezer@kcstar.com

The Royals’ scuffling offense should receive a jolt soon.

Catcher Salvador Perez, who started a minor-league rehab assignment on April 15, is nearing his return to the Royals lineup. He could make his season debut at Kauffman Stadium this week when the Royals return for a six-game homestand that begins against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

“It could be any day, and it could very well be the next series,” manager Ned Yost said. “But we just gotta wait and see how things go.”

Perez hasn’t seemed to miss a beat recovering from a Grade 2 tear of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury he sustained while carrying luggage into his home two nights before the start of the season. In six games spanning stints with Class AA Northwest and Class AAA Omaha, Perez has hit 8 for 21 with four RBIs. He’s clubbed two homers and knocked a double, including one of each on Saturday for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He was scheduled to play again Sunday in Omaha.

The sooner Perez returns to the Royals, the better.

The absence of his right-handed bat has sucked power out of the middle of the Royals lineup. Although left-handed hitters Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda had combined to drive in 24 of the Royals’ 54 runs entering Sunday, the remainder of the order provided little fuel. Both Jorge Soler and Cheslor Cuthbert had driven in two runs apiece before Sunday’s series finale with the Tigers at Comerica Park.

And catchers Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher, hitting from the ninth spot, averaged only .181 (12 for 66) with seven RBIs and three runs scored.

“I don’t think (the offense is) anywhere close to what it’s capable of being,” Yost said. “That was a big blow losing Salvy the day before opening day. That’s your number four hitter there that kind of balances everything out.”

Yost has also received positive reports on outfielder Alex Gordon, who began his rehab assignment in Omaha on Friday. He has hit 1 for 6 with two walks and an RBI. Gordon was placed on the disabled list on April 10 because of a labral tear in his left hip.

“Getting Salvy and Gordy back will help our offense,” Yost said.

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