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Perez, two other Royals win winter league awards
KANSAS CITY -- It's the awards season, winter league style, and the Royals are walking the red carpet.

Three members of the Royals' organization have taken honors, including starting catcher Salvador Perez, named the Venezuelan League Rookie of the Year.

In addition, right-hander Juan Gutierrez was named the Venezuelan League Reliever of the Year and shortstop Christian Colon was selected the Puerto Rican League Rookie of the Year.

Perez, playing for the first time in his home country, had a productive 32 games for Tiburones de la Guaira. He not only batted .371, but drove in 39 runs and had eight homers and 10 doubles. His on-base percentage was .412 and he scored 23 runs.

Perez got 132 at-bats, helping make up for time missed in the first half of the American League season last year because of knee surgery. He would have led the Venezuelan League in batting, slugging (.629) and OPS (1.041) if he'd had enough at-bats to qualify. Perez caught 11 games and was the designated hitter in 21 games.

Gutierrez, a former closer for Arizona, had a 0.72 ERA and 15 saves in 16 opportunities for Leones del Caracas. In 25 innings over 27 games, he had 25 strikeouts against seven walks and held batters to a .163 average.

Colon, in 39 games for Leones de Ponce, batted .301 in Puerto Rico with one home run, a triple and eight doubles among his 46 hits. He scored 26 runs, knocked in 11 and stole 13 bases in 17 tries.

Gutierrez is on the Royals' 40-man roster, and Colon is a non-roster invitee to their Major League Spring Training.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for

Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez