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Salvy celebrates FanFest as U.S. citizen

@FlannyMLB
January 24, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Just how nervous was Royals catcher Salvador Perez taking the test Friday to become a U.S. citizen? “I would rather be hitting with two outs and the bases loaded and 3-2 in the World Series than do that again,” Perez said. “I was drinking water every two

KANSAS CITY -- Just how nervous was Royals catcher Salvador Perez taking the test Friday to become a U.S. citizen?

“I would rather be hitting with two outs and the bases loaded and 3-2 in the World Series than do that again,” Perez said. “I was drinking water every two seconds. My eyes were super big.

“But it’s been fun. Had a great time.”

Perez took the exam Friday with an immigration official, passed it, and then took the oath at the ceremony on stage at the club's FanFest.

Perez said that he studied hard over the past months.

“I studied for it,” Perez said, smiling. “There were about 100 questions I studied. It was hard. I know a couple [things] that you guys know. I was [studying] in my car while I was in Miami. I would just listen to the questions and answers. I did that for about two months.”

It turns out the exam wasn’t quite as difficult as Perez feared.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m Salvador Perez and I play for the Kansas City Royals,” Perez said. “But I took the test here and they took care of me. I never felt like I was having a test. I felt like I was having a conversation with the guy. He was talking to me about my family -- he asked me a couple of questions in the middle -- but it only took about 10 minutes. He just told me, ‘Congratulations, you passed the test.’ I was actually kind of waiting for [the real] test.

“I’m pretty excited. It’s a nice thing for the organization to do this for me [at FanFest.]

Perez, 29, said he had his green card for five years before applying for citizenship.

“For a Latin guy, this is one of the best things you can do,” Perez said. “It’s important for our family.’

Perez had some other good news on Friday as well. He was able to throw from the catcher’s position to second base at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March.

“I didn’t feel [any pain] in the elbow,” Perez said. “I wish I could play for 10 more years.”

Perez wouldn’t wish the rehab process on anyone.

“It’s hard,” he said. “Pitchers get used to having Tommy John. But it’s hard for a position player because you have to play every day. Pitchers take more time to recover.

“But yes, sir, if all goes well, I’ll be ready on Opening Day in Chicago.”

Perez also reports he has lost 22 pounds this offseason -- mostly the weight he put on early in the rehab process.

“I’ll be honest, because I was eating a lot then,” Perez said. “[Trainer Nick Kenney] told me [weight gain] was part of the process because you can’t do certain things. And I like to eat. But I have lost the weight now and feel good.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.