After a strained thumb forced Salvador Perez to exit Monday’s game, the Royals received the good news on Tuesday that Perez is feeling just fine. The veteran catcher was in the lineup and behind the plate for the series opener in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. He singled in his first at-bat of the Royals' 2-1 streak-ending loss.
Perez jammed his thumb in the third inning during a play at the plate after receiving a bad throw from shortstop Nicky Lopez and applying a tag to Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera. Perez stayed in the game but was replaced in the sixth inning so he could start getting treatment right away.
“We feel pretty good about what we’re seeing, how he responded quickly to some treatment,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Maybe got a little bit ease of mind after he had a more thorough look at it from the medical team.”
The Royals will continue to monitor the injury closely to make sure it doesn’t flare up, but Perez swung in the cages and played catch, and the reports from him and the trainers were positive.
“It’s going to have to end up being how it feels from throwing and just how it responded again yesterday,” Matheny said. “This is a guy who has had issues [with] the opposite thumb but understands the sensitivity of that spot and making sure that what he felt wasn’t something that would worsen or put him in a compromised spot. Very proactive yesterday, and glad we were.”
McBroom recalled among roster moves
To bolster their bench ahead of their first series in a National League park, where there’s no DH, the Royals recalled infielder Ryan McBroom from the alternate training site on Tuesday. With no DH, the Royals will rely more on their bench when their starters -- Jakob Junis on Tuesday and Mike Minor on Wednesday -- exit.
In a corresponding move, the Royals optioned right-hander Jake Newberry to the alternate training site. The reliever had allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, with three walks and four strikeouts in three games since his callup on April 12.
Kansas City also announced that it has agreed to terms with right-hander Mike Shawaryn on a Minor League contract. Shawaryn will report to the alternate training site before likely heading to Triple-A Omaha in preparation for the Minor League season, which begins on May 4.
The 26-year-old Shawaryn was selected by Kansas City in the 32nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft, but he elected to go to the University of Maryland. The Red Sox drafted him in the fifth round in 2016, and he made it to the Majors in 2019, allowing 22 runs in 20 1/3 innings (14 games), with 29 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Royals expand capacity for May games
The Royals announced that tickets for May games will go on sale on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT, and that Kauffman Stadium will expand its socially distanced pod-style seating to 17,400 fans -- about 45 percent capacity -- for the next month, up from approximately 10,000 per game in April. The Royals were able to do this by decreasing the distance between each pod from six feet to three feet.
“I figure that we’ve got some Royals fans who’d love to be in the park, watching how these guys are playing right now,” Matheny said. “So that’s fantastic news for us, and we’ll feed off that environment. There’s no question.”
After announcing that fans would be allowed back in the stands for 2021, the Royals hoped that they could increase capacity on a month-by-month basis based on Kansas City health and safety protocols. They will continue to review capacity limits each month until Kauffman Stadium can operate at full capacity.
“We’re taking this at a steady pace, but we’re taking it at a responsible pace as well,” in-game host and Royals spokesperson Taylor Davis said on a call with Kansas City media. “It does seem like progress is being attained very easily and quickly. Our goal would be by mid-May to have another re-evaluation, announcement perhaps, about what we’ll do moving forward. Every few weeks, we’re re-evaluating this thing, seeing how quickly or slowly we need to take it. But progress is absolutely a priority.”
In addition to the pod-style seating, these are the other health protocols in place:
• In accordance with MLB protocols, face coverings are required at all times unless eating or drinking.
• Tickets and parking will only be accessible on mobile devices via the MLB Ballpark app.
• All tickets and parking must be purchased in advance.
According to Nielsen and Bally Sports, Royals television viewership is up 10 percent over 2020 and 15 percent over 2019, with a 5.1 household rating this year. During last week’s homestand, Bally Sports LC was the most-watched channel in prime time on four of the seven nights the Royals played and No. 2 on the other three nights. These numbers don’t include this past weekend, but Sunday’s game against Detroit had a 6.3 household rating, making it the highest-rated road game of the season so far.