Salvy returns, but Butera will still play

Salvy returns, but Butera will still play

CLEVELAND -- On Saturday, the Royals announced Salvador Perez would be returning to the starting lineup after missing the last six games with a left quad contusion.

"Salvy is feeling good about it. He's gone through his drills the last three days," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The plan is we'll play him today [Saturday] and rest him tomorrow."

Perez had hits in each of his first two at-bats Saturday in a 7-1 loss the Indians, finishing 2-for-4.

Yost said Perez will probably not return to his everyday role until the start of the series against the White Sox on June 10, after the Royals have an off-day. He said he expects Perez to alternate on and off days until the end of the upcoming series in Baltimore, but added it's all subject to change.

In the meantime, the Royals have the luxury of not having to rush Perez back given how well backup catcher Drew Butera performed while filling in. With Perez out of the lineup, Butera hit .400 and recorded his first two home runs of the season, putting together one of the best hitting stretches of his career.

"He held it down for sure," left-hander Danny Duffy said of Butera. "It was awesome to watch."

Saturday's starting pitcher, Ian Kennedy, said he likes different things about Perez and Butera. On Thursday, he noted that some of Perez's biggest strengths are his ability to keep the ball in front of him and throw out runners, in addition to his sheer presence behind the plate.

Both Kennedy and Duffy noted Perez had been extremely supportive of Butera and the team while he was out. Duffy said he'd been a great cheerleader, while Kennedy said he had heard about how much Perez cared about each pitch before arriving in Kansas City. He said he was pleased to see that Perez had lived up to the hype.

"He really really cares. He takes it to heart when you give up a hit, whether he calls it or not," Kennedy said. "I heard that a lot even before I got here, how much he does really, really care."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.