Salvador Perez looks to remain a factor as Royals host Twins

Sports

Salvador Perez does not want to sit.

The five-time Gold Glove catcher with the Kansas City Royals has played in every game this season, with 41 of 54 of those games behind the plate. The other 13 were as the designated hitter, as was the case Thursday.

Perez is expected to be in the lineup again Friday as the Royals host the Minnesota Twins in the second contest of a four-game series. The Twins will send Matt Shoemaker (2-6, 5.90 ERA) to the mound to face fellow right-hander Brad Keller (5-4, 5.68) in a rematch of the starters of last Sunday’s game in Minneapolis. The Royals won 6-3.

Perez continued to fluster the Twins on Thursday, hitting two home runs in the Royals’ 6-5 victory. It was the second straight two-homer performance for Perez, who has gone deep 27 times in his career against Minnesota.

“When we need something, he’s there,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after the game.

Perez, in fact, is always there for Kansas City — and that’s his plan.

“That’s one of my goals (to play in every game),” Perez said prior to Thursday’s game. “I’ve never done that in my life. I want to this year.

“I came into spring training in shape. Right now I feel like I’m ready. My body feels great. I keep that in mind, so hopefully I can do that this year.”

Perez appeared in just 37 out of 60 games in 2020, and he missed the entire 2019 season following Tommy John surgery during spring training. Perez was eager to get back on the field and stay there, and he changed his preparation habits significantly to be able to do that.

“I am taking care of my body,” Perez said. “It’s not a diet. During the offseason I like to eat a lot. But I work on my core. The more I take care of my body the longer I can play.”

Perez has feasted on the Twins in his career, including a .944 OPS at Target Field.

Shoemaker will have to deal with Perez on Friday night.

On Sunday against the Royals, Shoemaker cruised through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Four of the first five batters he faced reached base, leading to a four-run inning and an eventual loss for the pitcher.

“A day like today is why baseball sometimes really (stinks),” Shoemaker said after the game. “Go out there, honestly, I felt like today was one of my best execution days. I executed a lot of really good pitches.

“I hate saying it, I’m just sick of being unlucky.”

Shoemaker hasn’t been too lucky when facing the Royals. He owns an 0-5 record with a 10.92 ERA in seven career starts against them.

Keller picked up the win on Sunday in Minnesota. He allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, however he also issued four walks.

Keller owns a 2-2 record with a 3.20 ERA in seven career starts versus the Twins.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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