SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports & # 39; Bob Nightengale, Steve Gardner and Jorge Ortiz give their predictions for the new season.

KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) – Talking about carrying luggage in the season.

Kansas City gets up to six weeks after Salvador Perez without his star catcher sprained the medial collateral in his left knee as he carried a suitcase in his house up a flight of stairs.

The injury occurred Tuesday night when the Royals returned from spring training to Kansas City. The five-time All-Star heard a "pop" and immediately called Royals coach Nick Kenney, who advised Perez to freeze his knee and do an MRI scan on Wednesday.

The investigation revealed a 2nd degree sprain with a minor ligament tear.

Surgery is not required and recovery can only take four weeks. But the freak injury leaves the Royals without one of their top hitter when they open against White Sox on Thursday.

"Hopefully," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "it's shorter than longer."


Perez wore a chunky black brace on his knee when he arrived at Kauffman Stadium on the club's final day of training on Wednesday. Later, he told reporters what annoyed him most about the injury, be it at home or rather in the midst of the competition.

"All the work I do in the off-season is sad," he said. Even more depressing was the fact that Perez, who had had one of the best seasons of his career, had a tear in the spring. He appeared in 16 games and hit .350 with six homers and 40 RBIs in just 40 at-bats during the Cactus League plan.

He hit .268 with career stocks of 27 Homer's and 80 RBI last season.

The Royals counted on having their bat in the lineup after losing run producers Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain in a freelance agency. And while they were struggling against losing power with outsider Jon Jay, first baseman Lucas Duda, and third baseman Mike Moustakas, who had set the season record record last season, it still hurt, Perez & # 39; Losing Riflemen in the Hall

Yost said after a rainy workout on Wednesday that he expects Drew Butera, the club's support a year ago, and promises young Cam Gallagher to split into Perez's duties ,

Butera hit .227 with three homers and 14 RBI in 75 games last season, his third with the Royals, while Gallagher hit .250 with a homer and five RBI in 13 games as a late-season call.

The Royals begin the season against former pitcher James Shields and the White Sox, then Friday before the games Saturday and Sunday to end a three-game set. Then they make three games in Detroit and Cleveland, before returning to a home game with seven games.


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