SURPRISE, Ariz. — Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is set to have another test on his left knee after getting injured in a collision with Royals backup catcher Drew Butera in the World Baseball Classic.
Perez is returning to the Royals’ spring training camp on Monday and will have an MRI. The four-time All-Star and 2015 World Series MVP was hurt Saturday in Mexico while playing for Venezuela and is out of the tournament.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he’s still not at ease with Perez’s injury.
“Not until he gets back playing,” Moore said Sunday. “He has had an MRI. It’s a little inconclusive, but it’s encouraging.”
The original diagnosis was inflammation but no structural damage.
“He’s going to be OK, we think,” Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday.
Yost said catching coach Pedro Grifol and Royals head trainer Nick Kenney spent most of the night talking to Perez and the Venezuela training staff.
“He feels much better,” Yost said. “He felt better last night.”
Butera was playing for Italy and trying to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Butera seemed to try to hold up and limit contact, but stumbled into Perez and was tagged out. Perez struggled to put weight on the leg as he was helped off the field.
Perez had homered in the ninth inning. The Gold Glove winner has averaged 137.5 games per season behind the plate over the past four years and had surgery in 2012 for a tear in his left knee.
Yost acknowledged Butera did nothing wrong on the play
Perez hit .247 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs last year. Butera hit .285 with four home runs in 123 at-bats.
Cam Gallagher, a 24-year-old prospect who was a 2011 second-round pick with has no major league experience, and veteran Brayan Pena are the top two healthy catchers in camp. Pena was limited to nine games last season with St. Louis because of injuries.
Yost said despite Perez’s injury, he is still in favor of the WBC for the “globalization” of the game.