Royals catcher Perez set for test on knee injured in WBC

Segio Perez
Venezuela's Salvador Perez is helped after being injured during World Baseball Classic game against Italy, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, March 11, 2017. All-Star catcher Perez injured his left knee in a home-plate collision with his Kansas City Royals backup Drew Butera in a World Baseball Classic game. Venezuela rallied to beat Italy 11-10 on Martin Prado's 10th-inning double after Butera stumbled into Perez to end the ninth with the score tied at 10.(AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez)

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is set for another test on his left knee after getting injured in a collision with Royals backup catcher Drew Butera in the World Baseball Classic.

Perez is returning to the Royals’ spring training camp on Monday and will have an MRI. The four-time All-Star and 2015 World Series MVP was hurt Saturday in Mexico while playing for Venezuela and is out of the tournament.

“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 said he’s still not at ease with Perez’s injury.

“Not until he gets back playing,” Moore said Sunday. “He has had an MRI. It’s a little inconclusive, but it’s encouraging.”

The original diagnosis was inflammation but no structural damage.

“He’s going to be OK, we think,” Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday.

Yost said catching coach Pedro Grifol and Royals head trainer Nick Kenney spent most of the night talking to Perez and the Venezuela training staff.

“He feels much better,” Yost said. “He felt better last night.”

Butera was playing for Italy and trying to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Butera seemed to try to hold up and limit contact, but stumbled into Perez and was tagged out. Perez struggled to put weight on the leg as he was helped off the field.

“I talked to him (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.”

Perez had homered in the ninth inning. The four-time Gold Glove winner played in at least 138 games in each of the last four seasons.

Yost acknowledged Butera did nothing wrong on the play

Perez hit .247 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs last year. Butera hit .285 with four home runs in 123 at-bats.

Cam Gallagher, a 24-year-old prospect who was a 2011 second-round pick, and veteran Brayan Pena are the top two healthy catchers in camp. Pena was limited to nine games last season with St. Louis because of injuries.

Yost said despite Perez’s injury, he is still in favor of the WBC for the “globalization” of the game.