Salvy speaks, seeks to remain upbeat

March 2nd, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez, facing possible season-ending Tommy John surgery next week, spoke for the first time Saturday since the club revealed he has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

Perez spoke to reporters outside the team’s Spring Training clubhouse alongside Royals trainer Nick Kenney.

Perez, who smiled frequently during the short interview and seemed upbeat, said he was trying to prepare himself for the worst possible scenario, which would be season-ending surgery. Perez will get a second opinion on Tuesday from noted specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

“It’s hard to prepare for that [surgery],” Perez said. “That’s going to be the worst thing. But I got to be ready, too. We’ll go get the second opinion and we’ll see.”

Kenney indicated that contrary to a report Sunday, the Royals have not made any recommendation for surgery.

“At this point it is a possibility,” Kenney said, “but it has not been recommended. It has been brought up and it is a possibility.”

In fact, Perez seemingly is still holding out some slim hope that the ligament damage isn’t severe enough to require surgery, and that he can still play this season.

“If I can play through it I will,” Perez said. “That’s what I think. Yeah, that’s my hope, to play this year. We’ll see.”

Added Kenney, “Obviously we have an injury that is severe enough that we have concern. We want to weigh our options. We’re going to get a second opinion from another surgeon to either dispel our thoughts or go along with them. That’s where we're at.”

Perez first began feeling discomfort in his forearm early in January during his normal off-season throwing program. An MRI back in Kansas City revealed a flexor muscle strain (which sometimes can be a precursor to UCL damage), and Perez was shut down from throwing for four weeks.

Perez felt fine when arriving in camp in February, up until Wednesday.

“I threw from about 75 feet on Wednesday, and I felt something,” Perez said. “I finished my throwing that day and I always wait to see if the pain gets better or worse or stays the same for the next day. If it stays the same I don’t say anything or get checked. But the next morning I [really] felt the pain so that’s when I talked to Nick.”

The report of pain certainly got Kenney’s attention and another MRI was performed on Thursday, revealing the ligament damage.

“Over the course of a career, guys have soreness,” Kenney said. “If you go around the locker room everyone in here who has played baseball their whole life has some [UCL] damage. But in terms of injury-type soreness, this gentlemen had injury-type soreness with the flexor strain in January.”

That’s why the Royals were closely monitoring Perez all during camp, and it is why they want a second opinion.

“We want to be complete,” Kenney said. “We have thoughts. We just want to confirm.”