Royals C Salvador Perez scratched from game against Blue Jays because of tight back

TORONTO (AP) — Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez was scratched from Monday’s lineup against the Blue Jays because of a tight back.

An eight-time All-Star and the MVP of Kansas City’s World Series triumph in 2015, Perez is batting .340 with seven home runs. He was tied for second in the AL with 26 RBIs heading into Monday’s games.

Perez had been scheduled to bat fourth against Toronto. Instead, designated hitter Nelson Velázquez moved from sixth to fourth. Freddy Fermin took over behind the plate, batting sixth.

A five-time Gold Glove winner and four-time Silver Slugger, Perez was the AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2020. He matched Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the MLB home run lead with 48 in 2021.

Perez, who turns 34 in May, hit his 250th career homer on April 13. He strained his groin the following day and missed back-to-back games on April 15 and 16. He played in both games of an April 17 doubleheader against the White Sox and had played every game since.