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Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:01am|
By Keith Hernandez
Salvador Perez nearing return
The Kansas City Royals' young backstop (22 years old) has yet to play in a major league game this year after tearing his left lateral meniscus in spring training. He's since undergone surgery but is ahead of schedule and is 12-for-27 (.444) with two doubles and seven RBIs in six rehab games with the Class AAA Omaha Storm Chasers.
He has already made a significant rehab step: squatting behind the dish for a full nine innings. His work with the stick is encouraging, too. KC was preaching a cautious approach with their starting catcher over the weekend, reported Bob Dutton. Today, however, Ned Yost said he could be back as soon as next week. They'd prefer not to rush him, but if he's ready, he's coming.
Perez earned his gig as the starting backstop this year by hitting .331 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 158 plate appearances after an August promotion in 2011. A solid contact rate (84.9 percent) last year and throughout the minors gives hope for sustaining a high batting average.
Don't be so optimistic, however; his free-swinging mentality doesn't support an average over .300, and his BA against lefties last year (.484) will come down. The Venezuelan catcher doesn't hit enough lofts to be a legitimate power threat, either. He projects to develop power eventually, but when that will be is anyone's guess. Perez will need to make significant adjustments to his approach eventually.
In two-catcher or single-universe systems, you could do worse than Perez. You'll need to decide soon if you have the room for him on your roster.