Tempe, Ariz. — Royals six-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove catcher Salvador Perez’s season may be in serious doubt because of an elbow injury on his throwing arm.
The team announced prior to Friday’s game against the Angels that Perez had an MRI on Thursday, which showed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. He’ll travel to Los Angeles next week to receive a second opinion from surgeon Neal ElAttrache.
Pitchers are most commonly associated with these injuries, as UCL tears often require Tommy John surgery in order to repair the elbow ligament. It’s not totally uncommon for position players to have the surgery in order to repair the ligament. The recovery and rehab time on that surgery could extend a year.
Angels pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani injured his UCL in June. The Angels rested Ohtani and had him undergo platelet-rich-plasma and stem cell injections before allowing him to resume the season exclusively as a designated hitter.
Perez, 28, did not play in Thursday’s game after serving as DH the previous day. Royals manager Ned Yost had said last week that he hadn’t planned to have Perez catch for at least the first two weeks of spring training games because he’s a veteran with plenty of experience.
Perez, who batted in the cleanup spot in 76 games last season, hit 27 home runs and had 80 RBIs while batting .235 with a .274 on-base percentage and a .439 slugging percentage while also winning the AL Gold Glove for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
The unanimous MVP of the 2015 World Series, Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon along with infielder Whit Merrifield were viewed as the leaders of a team that features a lot of young players still trying to establish themselves in the majors. Perez and Gordon were prominent figures in the postseason runs in both 2014 and 2015.
If Perez will be sidelined for an extended period of time, the presumptive starter appears to be Cam Gallagher. Gallagher, 26, came into camp as the backup catcher behind Perez. The second-round pick in 2011 has spent the majority of his professional career in the minors.
The other catcher on the Royals’ 40-man roster is Meibrys Viloria. He played 10 games with the big-league club at the end of last season after being called up from High-A Wilmington.
MJ Melendez, one of the top-rated prospects in the Royals system, is in big-league camp. But Melendez has not played above Low-A in the minors.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Royals have already reached out to free-agent catcher Martin Maldonado. Maldonado, who won the AL Gold Glove in 2017, played 119 games last season between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels.
Giants CEO apologizes
A video posted by TMZ on Friday shows Giants president and CEO Larry Baer in a physical altercation with his wife at a San Francisco park.
Baer’s wife, Pam, was seated in a chair when the video shows he reached over her to grab for a cellphone in her right hand and she toppled sideways to the ground in the chair screaming “Oh my God!” and kicking a leg.
Witnesses saw the ordeal in the public plaza. Baer, holding the phone, says “Stop, Pam, stop,” then walks away alone.
“Regrettably today we had a heated argument in public over a family matter,” the couple said in a statement issued Friday afternoon through the team. “We are deeply embarrassed by the situation and have resolved the issue.”
Officer Joseph Tomlinson of San Francisco police said officers didn’t respond at the time, but police are aware of the incident and are investigating.
Bryce’s big bonuses
It turns out $330 million may not be all the Phillies pay Bryce Harper. To entice him, the team agreed to bonus provisions in the 13-year contract.
According to contract details obtained by AP, Harper would earn an extra $50,000 each time he is an All-Star, wins a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger or is selected League Championship Series MVP. A World Series MVP trophy would be worth an additional $100,000. He would get $500,000 if he is league MVP, $50,000 for finishing second in the voting and $25,000 for third.
In addition, he gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to purchase a suite for games at Citizens Bank Park.
Harper and the Phillies agreed to the contract Thursday.
Associated Press contributed.