KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) — Kansas City Royals' catcher Salvador Perez will have to start the 2018 campaign on the sideline.
On Wednesday, manager Ned Yost confirmed his popular backstop tore his MCL. Perez is expected to be out the next 4-6 weeks.
It's a tough start to the season for Perez who was hoping for a big bounce back in 2018. He only caught 116 games last year - the fewest of his career - and went on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
A strained groin caused him to miss the final three games of the season as well.
Perez appeared in 129 games last year overall. He injured his left knee while playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and despite injuries set career highs with 27 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .495 slugging percentage.
He had a strong spring training, hitting .364 with three home runs, seven RBIs and an .864 slugging percentage in his first 23 plate-appearances. He said an ideal workload for him would be 140 games or more.
Despite the injuries, the 27-year-old has no intention of changing position any time soon.
“I don’t want to play first base,” he said emphatically. “I’m a catcher. Maybe in seven years I play first base.”