The Royals have placed catcher Salvador Perez on the disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with an intercostal strain, tweets Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The team has recalled fellow backstop Cam Gallagher from Triple-A to take Perez’s place.
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After Perez suffered the injury Friday, manager Ned Yost suggested that he could miss up to four weeks in a worst-case scenario, according to Wilson Alexander of MLB.com. That would cost Perez the rest of August and remove a linchpin from a Kansas City club that’s firmly in the American League playoff race. The Royals, trying to take advantage of what could be their championship-winning core’s last ride, own a 56-52 record that’s good enough for a one-game lead on the AL’s second wild-card spot. They also have a shot to claim the AL Central from the Indians, who hold a three-game advantage over the Royals.
The Royals’ success this year has come thanks in no small part to Perez, long one of their heart-and-soul players. Specifically, the 27-year-old’s bat has been a boon to the Royals’ cause in 2017. Perez has belted a career-high-tying 21 home runs and posted a personal-best .232 ISO across 391 plate appearances, contributing to a terrific .278/.308/.510 line. He hasn’t been nearly as excellent defensively, however, having continued a careerlong trend of notching minus pitch-framing marks (per Baseball Prospectus). Additionally, Perez has thrown out would-be base stealers at only a slightly above-average clip (29 percent, compared to a league mean of 27 percent), after nailing runners a league-high 48 percent of the time in 2016.
As they continue vying for a playoff berth, the Royals will trudge on with Drew Butera and Gallagher as their options behind the plate. No one would confuse the light-hitting Butera for Perez, though, while Gallagher had never cracked the majors until Sunday. A second-round pick in 2011, the 24-year-old Gallagher reached Triple-A for the first time this season and hit .294/.339/.408 in 259 PAs before his promotion.
If the Royals aren’t content with Butera and Gallagher, it’s possible they’ll look to the August waiver market for help behind the plate. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted this week, veteran catchers Kurt Suzuki (Braves), Nick Hundley (Giants) and A.J. Ellis (Marlins) could move before the month’s out.