Salvy to represent KC at catcher for ASG

Veteran backstop will be making 7th All-Star appearance (6th start)

July 4th, 2021

KANSAS CITY -- Meeting with reporters last week, manager Mike Matheny sported his “Vote Salvy” T-shirt. In fact, he wore it “everywhere I can wear it without getting fined.” The shirt has been spotted on the field with Royals players, too, advocating for their teammate and leader.

And it worked.

On Thursday night, Major League Baseball announced the starting lineups for the 2021 All-Star Game. will be making his seventh All-Star appearance -- and sixth start -- as the American League catcher on July 13 at Coors Field.

Perez will be the Royals' only representative in Denver after MLB announced the reserves on Sunday during the All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. Perez will also participate in the Home Run Derby on July 12.

“I’m just a fan of this guy as a person, and I think that’s really what most Royals fans are, too,” Matheny said Thursday. “It’s easy trying to lobby for him. You’re going to pull for the person as much as the player, and this guy is special all the way around."

Perez launched his 20th home run of the season on Friday night against the Twins -- the Royals’ halfway point of the season -- becoming the fourth player in club history to have five 20-homer seasons.

Among players who have spent at least 75% of their games at catcher, Perez ranks first in home runs (20), hits (91) and RBIs (50). His seventh All-Star selection is the second most in Royals history, behind only George Brett (13).

Despite the monster season Perez has been having on both offense and defense, Matheny believes his All-Star selection goes beyond the numbers.

“He’s one of the most recognizable players we have -- by name, by personality -- and then you throw him into a position where he’s standing out,” Matheny said ahead of Thursday’s finale vs. Boston. “So even just the generic fan who has an opportunity to go online, and you’ve got their slash line, [it’s] pretty obvious.

“And then you recognize, if you’re a fan at all, you recognize the name, you recognize what the back of his baseball card looks like and I think you throw all those things into consideration. You know the Gold Gloves are there already, what he’s been able to do just on both sides. Plus, I do believe he’s endearing to baseball fans, in general, because he plays the game like we all would want to and that’s with just this passion and this love for the game, it shines through. Even on rough streaks, he’ll come off, his smile’s magnetic. He’s just a great ambassador for the game. You put that together with the kind of season that you can’t turn a blind eye to, and I don’t know how he’s not leading in votes overall.”

This will be Perez’s first All-Star Game since 2018 after missing the ’19 season due to Tommy John surgery. There were no All-Star selections in ’20 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite Perez being the player to represent the Royals, the club has a few other All-Star-caliber players, including leadoff man Whit Merrifield and reliever Scott Barlow. Merrifield, who has been to one All-Star Game, has a .284/.337/.431 slash line with a Major League-leading 23 stolen bases. In June, Merrifield led the Majors with 40 hits. Barlow is the Royals’ highest-leverage reliever and has a 1.99 ERA in 39 appearances. He has four saves and has struck out 59 in 40 2/3 innings -- often in the tightest of situations and against the best part of opposing lineups.

“What’s probably not part of the story, and it’s hard to really quantify it, this guy is throwing in leverage nonstop,” Matheny said. “Obviously guys at the back of the bullpen do that, but he’s been targeted toward the meat of the order. It’s not just, ‘You’re throwing an inning regardless of who comes up.’ We’ve been throwing him right at the biggest part of their lineup. And he’s been able to do what he’s done facing the best in the game that we’ve been competing against. That just validates for me how special of a season he’s having.”

The 91st Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. During the game, fans may visit and the 30 club sites to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week, including ticket information and updates, please visit and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.