Posted on April 24, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Things have been an utter disaster for the Kansas City Royals early in the season. But help is finally on the way. On Tuesday, the Royals activated both outfielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez from the DL. The Royals can only hope the return of the two veterans can help them get things turned around in 2018 before it’s too late.
For Perez, Tuesday will mark the start of the 2018 season. The 27-year old backstop took a spill away from the field during spring training, straining ligaments in his knee that forced him to begin the season on the DL. Aside from being a reliable catcher, Perez is coming off one of his best offensive seasons. In 2017, he hit .268 with a career-high 27 home runs, good for an OPS of .792.
“I’m excited to be back on the field. It’s time to go,” Perez told reporters Tuesday. “They asked how I was feeling. I’m feeling great. You know me. I like to play hard. I like to compete. I like to help my team win.”
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While Perez was on the shelf, the Royals got by with Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher as their catchers. While Butera is sound defensively and a solid backup, he’s hitting just .182 on the season. Gallagher wasn’t much better, hitting at a .208 clip. Perez now figures to take over most of the catching duties, which should provide an immediate boost for the Royals.
“You can’t replace what Salvy brings to this team,” said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. “His energy, the way he goes about his business, the way he plays the game. When he’s in the lineup there is no doubt we’re a better team
Gordon, meanwhile, gets to hit the reset button on his season after missing two weeks with a left labral tear. Before the injury, Gordon was just 4 for 23 (.174) on the season. Coming off a season in which he hit .208 with an OPS of .608, his poor start did not inspire a lot of confidence that Gordon could have a bounce-back year in 2018. However, the injury, in a way, affords him the chance to get a fresh start.
“It was good to get out there (at Triple-A) and test it in a game situation,” says Gordon. “Now I’m just going to try to grind it out and finish the year healthy.”
Even with lignering questions about Gordon’s offensive production, both he and Perez should be positive additions to Kansas City’s lineup. Outside of Jorge Soler in right field, the Royals haven’t gotten much out of their outfield this year. Thus, Gordon should be a step up. Perez, meanwhile, gives the Royals another power hitter in the middle of their order alongside Moustakas and Lucas Duda. The Royals began Tuesday last in the big leagues in runs scored, so there is nowhere to go but up.
After starting the season 5-15, the Royals are in a deep hole. It figures to take more than Gordon and Perez to get them back into contention. However, there is a lot of season left to play, and the Royals no doubt need all hands on deck to get things turned around. Only time will tell if the presence of Gordon and Perez end up making a meaningful difference.