The Kansas City Royals have nine players on the disabled list, but that number could dwindle before June ends.
Catcher Salvador Perez, who had right knee surgery in spring training, will start a rehab assignment Thursday with Class AAA Omaha. That is the same day second baseman Chris Getz, out due to a bruised left ribcage, and left-hander Everett Teaford, sidelined because of a lower abdominal strain, will begin rehab assignments with Omaha.
Perez has been playing in extended spring training games in Surprise, Ariz., but has not caught more than seven innings. Manager Ned Yost said Perez had four at-bats and caught seven innings Tuesday. Yost also said Perez had not caught back-to-back games.
"He's getting close to catching nine and doing that on a consistent basis," Yost said. "He's not going to be an everyday player when he first gets here because we've got to work him back into that everyday routine. I imagine he can catch four days a week when he gets here. We're trying to prepare him for that schedule as we speak."
Yost said there is no timetable for Perez's return, saying he'll be brought up as soon as he's ready.
"Once he gets (to Omaha), we'll evaluate game-to-game, get him into a scenario where he can catch nine innings, give him a day off and catch nine innings and then back-to-back and see how he progresses," Yost said.
Perez, 22, hit .331 in 39 games as a rookie last season. He signed a five-year contract with three club options that could take him through 2019.
While Perez, Teaford and Getz could be back soon if they have no setbacks, right-hander Felipe Paulino could be going on the disabled list. Paulino left after only 13 pitches in the first inning Wednesday in the 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins due to a right groin strain. The Royals are waiting for further medical tests to know the extent of Paulino's injury.