Durable Perez nicked by bats, balls behind plate
TORONTO -- Perhaps no one has taken a bigger beating this postseason than Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
Perez has taken numerous foul tips to the face mask, he's been hit by a pitch and he's been clocked on the back of his helmet by hitters following through on their swings.
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But Perez is seemingly indestructible. He keeps coming back for more, although he did use smelling salts during Tuesday's game to clear his sinuses a little.
"Yesterday, I felt a little dizzy after the foul ball hitting my face," Perez said before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series (3 p.m. ET air time, 4 p.m. game time on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet).
Asked which hurt more, the foul balls or the bats hitting him on follow-throughs, Perez said, "I think the foul ball coming to my face, to here [indicating to the chin]. I think that's the worst for me.
"That's why sometimes when they swing, I put my head a little down, because if the ball is going to hit me, I'd rather it hit me in here [top of head] rather than down in my face."
Perez has had discussions about the wear and tear on larger catchers (Perez is 6-foot-3, 240 pounds) with former Major League backstops such as Sandy Alomar Jr.
"Alomar told me, 'Sal, we can do nothing about that, you're going to get hit no matter what. We are tough. We are big guys,'" Perez said. "I think it's more easy to get hit than the little guys."
No overnight sensation: The Royals are closing in on their second straight World Series appearance, but it was a long road for the team to get to this point. A lot of losing, criticism and hard times preceded this, and manager Ned Yost hasn't forgotten those times.
But Yost doesn't feel it necessary anymore to prove anything to anyone.
"The only thing that drives me is I want to win a world championship," Yost said. "The hard times were part of the process. And you kind of go back and celebrate that a little bit, knowing that you knew that was a road that you'd have to take and endure to get here. But it was all part of the process."