Salvy hit in face mask, dealing with headache

June 24th, 2021

NEW YORK -- exited the Royals' eventual 6-5 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night in the fourth inning after taking a hard foul ball off his face mask in the first, but Kansas City received good news in that its veteran catcher passed initial tests ruling out a concussion.

Manager Mike Matheny called it a "non-concussive event," but Perez got a headache because of how hard the ball hit the chin area of his mask. Perez initially lobbied to stay in the game after he was hit. On starter Danny Duffy's fifth pitch in the bottom of the first, Yankees leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu fouled a 96 mph fastball straight back to Perez's face mask. He immediately sat back and shook his head but talked his way into staying in the game when Matheny and trainer Nick Kenny came out to check on him.

Backup catcher Sebastian Rivero took over in the bottom of the fourth, and Perez's status as unavailable was clear when Matheny was the one to warm up Greg Holland in the bottom of the ninth as Rivero got his catcher's gear on.

"Passed everything," Matheny said of Perez's initial tests done by Royals trainers. "But it was really the chin that took the brunt of that. He had some headache going because of the mask jamming his chin back. We just need to be careful in those situations."

Rivero made the most of his time in the lineup. He was hit by a pitch in the top of the fifth that knocked Yankees starter Michael King from the game. In the top of the ninth, Rivero drew a bases-loaded walk that tied the game against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman before the Royals took a brief lead.

Perez hasn't missed a game yet this season, playing in all 72 of the Royals games as either the catcher or the designated hitter if he needs a game off his feet. The 31-year-old is hitting .288 with an .852 OPS and a team-leading 18 home runs this year. Kansas City will re-evaluate his status before Thursday's series finale against the Yankees to determine his availability.