Salvador Perez knows the pain is coming. But he has a strategy to mitigate the hurt.
“I put my head a little down, because if the ball is going to hit me, I’d rather to hit me in here,” Perez said, pointing to his forehead, “rather than down in my face.”
Perez has taken a beating behind the plate for the Royals in these playoffs. On Tuesday in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, he said he “felt a little dizzy” after a foul ball hit him in the catcher’s mask during the sixth inning. He went back out for the seventh but was replaced by Drew Butera for the final two innings of the 14-2 victory over the Blue Jays.
In Game 4 of the ALDS at Houston, Perez passed two concussion tests. One was during the sixth inning, when he took a foul tip off his mask, and the other was after the game. He was pulled for a pinch runner in the seventh after taking a fastball in the ribs.
Perez, who’s 6 feet 3 and 240 pounds, said he talked to another big catcher, Sandy Alomar Jr., for advice. But Alomar, who stands 6-5 and played 20 years in the majors, told Perez, “You’re going to get hit no matter what.”
“We tough,” Perez said. “A foul ball always hurts.”
Still, Perez said he would be ready to go for Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday as the Royals try to clinch their second straight World Series appearance.
“Last year we just want to be in (the) playoffs,” he said. “Now we know how it feels, and now we want to win.”