<
>

Royals catcher Salvador Perez optimistic about injured knee

Kansas City Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez believes he will be fine after suffering a knee injury Saturday while playing for his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

"The doctors told me that I will be out for a couple of weeks," Perez said Sunday before Venezuela's game against Mexico in Guadalajara. "There's no structural damage. ... Thank God this is not going to keep me away for months. I will be ready for Opening Day."

Royals general manager Dayton Moore was a bit more guarded in his optimism.

"He has had an MRI," Moore said Sunday. "It's a little inconclusive, but it's encouraging."

Perez injured his left knee in a collision at home plate with Drew Butera, his teammate and backup catcher with the Royals.

"I talked to [Butera]. He is a tremendous person and one of my best friends in the club," Perez said. "He told me that he was sorry, and he was crying. I felt bad for him, but that's the nature of this tournament. When you are playing for your flag, you want to do the best to win. In the play, he wanted to avoid the collision, but it was so fast that he couldn't do it. Sometimes things like that happen."

Team Venezuela said in a statement that Perez was diagnosed with a contusion and that an MRI revealed no damage other than inflammation. Still, the Royals plan to have Perez undergo another MRI when he returns to the team Monday.

"He's going to be OK, we think," Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters. "He'll be all right. They checked him out yesterday. [Royals catching coach] Pedro [Grifol] was on the phone most of the night, and so was [trainer] Nick [Kenney], talking to the [Venezuela] GM, talking to the trainers and talking to Salvy himself.

"He feels much better. He felt better last night."

Perez is a four-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner and has averaged 137.5 games behind the plate the past four seasons. The 2015 World Series MVP had surgery in 2012 to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.