The Royals announced today that Salvador Perez has an injury to his right elbow, and that an MRI revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. He will get a second opinion next week.
The Royals said the UCL was damaged during a workout on Wednesday. Perez had an MRI on Thursday. The club typically sends players for second opinions to confirm a diagnosis and then have surgery on site — in this case Tommy John. It would be a crushing blow to the 2019 Royals.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 1, 2019
Injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament often require Tommy John surgery, which could require 12-16 months of rehabilitation. Newer techniques have been developed recently that could shorten the timeframe.
Salvador Perez hit .235/.274/.439 with 27 home runs in 129 games last year, missing the first four weeks with a knee injury after he slipped while carrying his luggage. Perez has played in 125 games or more in every season since 2012, and is a six-time All-Star. The 28-year old is in the third year of a five-year, $52.5 million deal that will pay him $11.2 million this year.
If Perez is out for an extended period of time, Cam Gallagher would likely be the starter. Nick Dini or Meibrys Viloria could be possibilites to make the team as a backup, although that would be a big jump for Viloria up from High A ball last year. The free agent catchers still available include Martin Maldonado, Evan Gattis, and Bruce Maxwell.
Royals, who announced that Sal Perez has a UCL injury, are in touch with Martin Maldonado.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 1, 2019