Perez fully healed in recovery from Tommy John

May 13th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- When Spring Training was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was still some doubt about the readiness of Royals catcher and shortstop for Opening Day.

Mondesi was recovering from shoulder surgery last fall and was scheduled to play in his first Cactus League game when camp was shut down. Perez, recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent in March 2019, was further along than Mondesi in his rehab and likely would have been ready for Opening Day.

Still, manager Mike Matheny stressed that the Royals were going to be cautious with Perez in terms of his catching workload, perhaps having him start at designated hitter and play some first base during the first month or so.

However, the extra healing time has already occurred. Perez said on a Zoom call Wednesday that he is fully ready to go whenever baseball resumes.

“The more time I can wait to get back behind home plate, the better I will be,” Perez said. “I don’t know what’s happening right now in baseball. But at the same time, I thank God to have the time to get better.”

A typical day now for Perez, who lives in Miami, is that he starts working with Royals special assignment hitting coach Mike Tosar around 8 a.m., then works on catching with bench coach and catching instructor Pedro Grifol. Then, around 2 p.m. he returns home to work out with weights.

“I get a lot of help from Mike on hitting,” Perez said. “The more we practice, the better I get. He has pretty good ideas.”

Perhaps the biggest adjustment for Perez once baseball returns, he said, is possibly playing in empty stadiums.

“Especially with me, because you guys know how much I love the fans and love to talk to them,” Perez said. “It’s going to be hard. Going to be weird. But if that’s the best way to start playing, we’ve got to do it.”