Pérez catches bullpen, ready to return after season absence

MLB Kansas City

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)Preparing to return to the major leagues after a one-season absence, Salvador Perez caught a bullpen session from prospect Brady Singer in the Kansas City Royals’ first spring training workout on Wednesday.

Perez hurt his a ligament in his right elbow during drills in spring training last year, and Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Tommy John surgery on the six-time All-Star on March 6. Perez is hitting and throwing to bases.

”I’m like 90%, very close to 100 to be able to do anything,” Perez said. ”We’ll see what he says, so I can do some more stuff on the field. I feel good.”

Perez said it was difficult to watch last year and not play as the Royals skidded to their second straight 100-loss season.

”You start to think too much sometime,” Perez said. ”It’s a good thing I’m back. I’m ready. Hopefully, I can stay healthy for the opening day.”

Approaching his 30th birthday in May, Perez is a five-time Gold Glove and the 2015 World Series MVP. He has a .266 average with 141 homers and 503 RBIs in eight major league seasons.

”I really don’t need to remind people,” he said. ”They already know. They know who I am. They know I love to play baseball. When the light is on, it’s my time.”

Manager Mike Matheny said he is not ruling out using Perez at first base at times.

”If they need me for a couple of games, I don’t have any problem to do that,” Perez said. ”I don’t like to think I’m going be the first baseman or DH. I’m the catcher. I prepare myself to catch 162 games, more than that if we’re in the playoffs.”

Perez hit 27 home runs in both 2017 and 2018, his fourth straight season with at least 21 homers.

”He looks great and ready to go,” Matheny said.

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