Perez gets chance to rest sore, bruised leg
Royals catcher expected to be in Monday's lineup at Yankee Stadium
KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Salvador Perez wasn't in the Royals' lineup on Sunday, the first game after he was selected to the American League All-Star team.
"His leg's barking a little bit," manager Ned Yost said. "It's not anything he couldn't play through, but an occasional rest here and there is going to help him. It's a combination of a soft tissue and a bone bruise and he can play through it, but it's sore."
Perez explained that his lower right leg has been struck multiple times when he was behind the plate in the last week or 10 days.
"Foul balls or when I try to block the ball, sometimes they get behind the shin guard and hit me in the same spot," Perez said. "It's not a big deal. I can play, but they want me to give it a rest today."
Yost believes that Perez will be back in the lineup on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
"It's evident when he runs, how sore it is. It's not anything he couldn't play through, but the more he plays on it, the sorer it gets. So you pick a spot every three or four days to try to get him over the hump," Yost said.
Backup George Kottaras was the starting catcher against the Athletics, his team for the second half of last season and in the playoffs.
"I didn't even think about that factor until I got here this morning and thought, 'Hey, this is a chance to give George a chance to play against his old team,'" Yost said. "You always enjoy those opportunities when you get to go back and play against your old team."
Kottaras belted a home run in his first at-bat against former batterymate A.J. Griffin and later drew two walks in the Royals' 10-4 loss.
Although this was just Kottaras' 15th start, Yost likes the job he's done.
"He's prepared every single day, he gives you a professional at-bat and has done a great job behind the plate in the games that he's played. He receives the ball well, blocks the ball fine and calls a really good game," Yost said. "He's a good complement to Salvy."
Royals players happy for their All-Star duo
KANSAS CITY -- For the first time in 10 years, the Kansas City Royals have two All-Stars and their teammates couldn't be happier for them.
Manager Ned Yost made the announcement after Saturday's game that left fielder Alex Gordon had been selected, and after a dramatic pause, Yost added that catcher Salvador Perez would also be heading to New York's Citi Field for the Midsummer Classic on July 16.
"We won another game late and we were excited about that, and then when we found out that Gordon was going we went crazy because he's deserved it, he's played so well over the last four or five years," closer Greg Holland said. "He's a Gold Glover, saves runs, drives in runs. Then, when we found out we had another one, nobody was expecting that, so that was even cooler."
Gordon's won back-to-back Gold Glove Award for his efforts in left field and is adding another strong campaign to his resume -- entering Sunday's game against the A's tied for the American League lead with eight outfield assists. He's holding his own on offense, too, batting .290 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs through 81 games.
"I'm really happy for Gordon, he's been the backbone of our team," Holland said. "To see how he goes about his business, it's really rewarding to see a guy who works that hard and never takes a play off to get rewarded."
Perez, who is in his second season with the Royals, already is setting the tone for a lengthy impressive career. He holds the franchise record with nine pickoffs by a catcher after leading the Majors with five last season. On offense, Perez's .391 average with runners in scoring position ranks third in the league. He also is second among American League catchers with a .302 overall average.
"He's just that good," said Billy Butler, who represented the Royals at the 2012 All-Star game in Kansas City. "Catch-and-throw wise, there's not many guys better. Maybe Yadier Molina and that's it. He's basically comparable to me, they remind me of the same player. When you've got that kind of talent, nobody ignores it."
The last two Royals to appear on the same All-Star roster were Mike Sweeney and Mike MacDougal in 2003. Perez is the first catcher to represent the Royals since Darrell Porter in 1980.
Reliever J.C. Gutierrez said that he was thrilled for Gordon and Perez, but thought the club had a few more players worthy of making the All-Star squad, including Holland, Ervin Santana and James Shields.
"I didn't really think about it," Holland said. "I just try to go out there and pitch every day as well as I can. At the end of the day, just to be considered like that by your teammates is really rewarding."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.