The Royals announced Tuesday that they’ve activated catcher Salvador Perez from the injured list. He had previously tested positive for COVID-19, according to the club, and it appears he’s since had the two negative tests required to return to the field of play. Perez is in uniform and working out with the club today.
It’s been 22 months since Royals fans saw the six-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glover suit up for a game. Perez sat out the entire 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and hasn’t caught a game since Sept. 30, 2018. Perez’s clearance to return is of particular importance to the Royals given that the team’s only other catchers on the 40-man roster, Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria, are on the injured list at the moment. Gallagher tested positive for COVID-19 last week. No reason for Viloria’s IL placement was provided.
Assuming Perez is ready for Opening Day and Gallagher and Viloria aren’t, it seems likely Nick Dini will serve as the team’s main backup catcher. Dini struggled during a 64-plate appearance major league debut last season, but he has hit well in Triple-A dating back to 2018. Oscar Hernandez (whom the Royals signed last week), MJ Melendez, Sebastian Rivero, Freddy Fermin and Allan de San Miguel comprise the rest of the backstops in the club’s player pool.