Salvy on return: 'Like it was my first day'

July 16th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Royals All-Star and Gold Glove-winning catcher was back behind the dish in Wednesday night’s intrasquad game.

Perez, who returned from the injured list on Tuesday after dealing with COVID-19, gave the Royals a boost, according to manager Mike Matheny.

“Having him back is just what we needed,” Matheny said.

Perez met with reporters earlier on Wednesday for a Q&A via Zoom.

What was your favorite moment on Tuesday?

“As soon as I opened the door to get into the clubhouse, that was my favorite moment. Just to get back on the field with these guys. I feel good. I feel healthy. Thank God.”

You got a hit in your first at-bat Tuesday. How good did that feel?

“I didn’t even know how I’d do. I just tried to track the ball first. That’s the first thing. We just go from there. I hit it pretty good.”

You’ve got a little over a week to get your timing at the plate. Are you confident you can do that?

“I am confident. After my day yesterday, I don’t think it will take that long. Just three or four days to face some live pitching and I’ll be fine.”

What did you do in isolation, baseball-wise?

“I hit off the tee and hit into the net. It’s not the same as live pitching, but it kept me moving a bit.”

The other two catchers on the 40-man roster are on the IL. The catching position is kind of thin now.

“I was sad for them. I wanted to be here from the first day, so I know. We’ll get them back and we’ll be good.”

How frustrating was it in isolation?

“It felt like a year for me. I kept saying, ‘Please, God.’ But things happen for a reason. But my family is safe.”

How surprising was it that you tested positive at first?

“I didn’t even know I had it. [Trainer Nick Kenney] told me, ‘Sorry to say, you have it.’ But I just took it easy for 14 days.”

Were you sick at all?

“If I didn’t have the test, I would have had no idea I had it. I was completely asymptomatic. I don’t feel a thing, and thank God for that.”

Any idea where you might have contacted it?

“Everyone knows I live in Miami, and everyone knows Miami is the second-worst city for COVID. But no one around me has COVID. I don’t know if I got it on the plane, or what. I don’t know. We don’t know.

“The good thing about that is that when I tested positive, I was by myself. And I didn’t leave my house. I live alone in my house. I didn’t go out for 14 days. It’s not good, but I had to do it.”

You’re a guy who loves to interact with teammates and people. How hard will it be to social distance for you?

“It’s tough. But I try to stay away from people. It’s hard to stay away from people, but you have to do it.”

Tell us about the thrill of coming back after having not played since 2018 because of the Tommy John surgery last year.

“It’s going to be amazing. I feel like I haven’t played in two years. When Nick told me I could come back, I felt like it was my first day in the big leagues again.”