Salvy throwing, prepping for his return in 2020

September 6th, 2019

MIAMI -- As the season winds down, Royals catcher 's rehab continues to progress.

Perez, who underwent Tommy John surgery in March and began throwing again 10 weeks ago from 45 feet, rocked full catcher's gear hours before the club's series opener at Marlins Park. During batting practice, he performed drills. 

An All-Star in each of the previous six seasons and a five-time American League Gold Glove Award winner, Perez said his arm feels great and that he'll be ready for Spring Training.

"I throw every other day. Tomorrow, I'm going to go up to 75 feet with 25 throws," said Perez, who lives in nearby Weston, Fla. "Next week, I think I'll be going 90 [feet]. It's a process. We're getting close. Start hitting -- tee, cage. Not on the field yet, but I'm doing a lot of working out with my coach, working behind home plate [with] footwork, receive, catch some bullpens."

"It's hard, because people know how much I love to play and be part of the team, but that's what it is. I don't have any control of that, so I just need to get better between my recovery and rehab, and be back next year."

Despite not playing a game this season, Perez has taken to being around the young club and offering guidance.

"It's a process with a lot of young guys with great talent," Perez said. "They need experience to play a little more in the big leagues, to be here and compete and try to win. We have some really good pitchers in the Minor Leagues, too; I think they're going to be ready in two years. I think we're getting close to being back in the playoffs."

A promising start

Left-hander Gabe Speier's scoreless Major League debut in Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Tigers impressed manager Ned Yost. Speier, who struck out the first two batters before issuing a walk, induced a flyout to end the seventh inning.

The 24-year-old Speier utilized all of his arsenal -- a four-seam fastball (13 pitches), slider (five), sinker (two) and changeup (one) -- to retire the side. His average fastball velocity was 94.6 mph.

With Triple-A Omaha, 23 of Speier's 47 outings went multiple innings -- something the Royals likely will take advantage of during the final weeks of the regular season. Lefties hit .161, while righties batted .320. On Thursday, he faced three right-handed batters.

"He was on the attack throwing strikes with four pitches," Yost said. "Traditionally, coming up through the Minors, especially this year, he was much better against left-handers than he was right-handers. I don't pigeonhole anybody in my thoughts. I try to give them an opportunity from the minute they get here. I want to see what they do. I don't want to go back and look at numbers. I'll look at them, but I don't live on them, I don't sit on them. I allow them to show me what they can do with their own performances."

The plan for Hahn

Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who threw a scoreless eighth in his long-awaited Royals debut on Thursday, will get the next two games off before likely appearing in Sunday's series finale going into an off-day on Monday.

It's all part of the training staff's strategy for Hahn, who has dealt with elbow injuries the previous two seasons and had last pitched in the Majors in 2017.

"As you saw yesterday, stuff's pretty darn good, so we want to make sure in his rehab process that we're doing it right and that we're protecting him," Yost said. "I needed to see him for my own self yesterday to see really what we're dealing with: Is it a guy that's going to struggle with his command? Is he going to be able to throw strikes? What's the velocity like on the fastball? What's the breaking ball look like? And he passed every test yesterday. It was an outstanding first time back in the big leagues.

We are the champions

The Royals' Dominican Summer League Team 1 clinched the championship on Friday with a 1-0 victory in Game 5 over the D-backs' Team 2. The Royals pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings to secure the organization's first DSL title.