The bigger issue Monday for the Royals, beyond a 6-5 loss to Houston, was the status of catcher Salvy Perez’s right hip.
Perez left the game shortly after slamming into a post at the Houston dugout while pursuing a foul pop by J.D. Martinez in the fifth inning.
The Royals initially characterized the injury as “discomfort” in Perez’s right hip. Manager Ned Yost called it a bruise in his postgame news conference and said Perez will be reevaluated prior to today’s game.
Perez said it was “sore” but dismissed the suggestion he might miss a game or two.
“No, no, no,” he argued. “I think I’ll be able to go (today) We’re here to play, right? We’re here to play. It’s just tight. I hit (the post) with my side. I’m just sore.”
Perez and first baseman Eric Hosmer each pursued Martinez’s pop.
“We were both running with our heads up,” Hosmer said. “At the last second, you want to slide and not run into the wall and go over (the top). It looked like he just started his slide a little too late.
Perez completed the inning before leaving the game. George Kottaras replaced Perez when the Royals took the field in the sixth.
Perez is batting .308 after going one for three in Monday’s loss. He has started 37 of the club’s 41 games.
Francoeur: three hits
Struggling right fielder Jeff Francoeur had his first three-hit game since last Sept. 23, which should ease a bit of the pressure from his extended slump.
Francoeur admitted he was finding it tough not to press.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said, “but I’ve got to find a way to relax. I’ve just got to go out there and not try to do too much. Once I find it a way to do that, which hopefully will be here soon, I feel I’ll be back on track.”
It’s probably no coincidence that Francoeur’s three-game run coincides with the Royals facing two left-handers.
What seems hard to dispute is, with the season now one-fourth over, the Royals need to see a more productive Francoeur — and soon — if he is to continue to get regular duty.
The numbers, even after Monday, aren’t good, although he raised his average from .209 to .226. He also had his first RBI since May 1.
The decision to sit third baseman Mike Moustakas in Monday’s game was not, Yost said, a “head-clearing move” for a player mired in a one-for 34 slump.
“I wanted to get (Miguel) Tejada in there,” Yost said. “Moose is doing pretty well (mentally). He’s doing much better than he ever did during his struggles last year.
“He’s in a pretty good frame of mind, so he doesn’t need a head-clearing day.”
Tejada responded with a three-run homer that, briefly, gave the Royals a 4-3 lead in the fourth. He jumped a first-pitch change-up from Houston’s Dallas Keuchel after striking out in the second with two runners on base.
Fred White services
Services for former Royals broadcaster Fred White, who died on May 15, will take place on May 28 at the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village.
White, 76, died from complications of melanoma one day after he officially retired from the Royals following a 40-year association.
He worked with Denny Matthews as the Royals’ broadcast team from 1973 to 1998.