After missing the entire 2019 season due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, long-time Royals catcher Salvador Perez made his return to the diamond in the Royals’ Friday Spring Training game against the San Francisco Giants.
Perez started the Friday afternoon game, registering two at-bats and playing five innings behind the plate. He had already gotten some at-bats as a pinch-hitter and designated hitter during the spring slate, but this was his first action behind the plate.
Asked about how he felt on Friday, he said, “I was super excited to be back behind the home plate.” He went on to add, “I feel great. I feel good. I wasn’t nervous.”
The Royals are hoping that Perez will be able to serve as the team’s primary catcher in the 2020 season, providing valuable veteran leadership and catching know-how behind the plate for a young team that is looking to develop its pitching.
Perez, a Venezuela native, was a six-time consecutive AL All-Star between 2013 and 2018, the last season he played before his injury. He is best known for his defensive expertise, as he has collected five Gold Gloves during his strong career.
The 29-year-old appears to have completely recovered from his elbow surgery, and will provide a big boost to the Royals in his return to the diamond this season.