Royals’ Salvador Perez to have thumb surgery; KC welcomes back top hitter in his spot

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Charlie Riedel/AP
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The Kansas City Royals will be without catcher Salvador Perez for an extended period, as the team announced Friday he would be heading to the injured list with a thumb injury that required surgery.

The Royals said the medical procedure took place Friday to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in Perez’s left thumb, though the organization said he was “expected to return this season.”

In a corresponding move, the Royals recalled outfielder Edward Olivares, who had been one of their hottest hitters early before a quad strain put him on the IL.

Royals manager Mike Matheny reported Friday before the game that Perez’s surgery “went well.” He said a tentative timeline for Perez’s return was eight weeks.

“You always have to wait and see how he feels, how the recovery starts to go,” Matheny said. “But normally, when I hear anything about the thumb and you hear surgery, I was anticipating we wouldn’t have him the rest of the season. So anything that we’re hearing sooner than that’s good news for us.”

After missing 10 games on the IL with a thumb sprain from May 17-27, Perez played in 23 consecutive games until Tuesday, when he left a game against the L.A. Angels after hurting his left thumb on a third-inning swing. Perez did not play Wednesday and the Royals were off Thursday.

Perez, a seven-time All-Star, has had a down season at the plate for his standards, hitting .211 with a .254 on-base percentage and .426 slugging. His triple-slash line last season, to compare, was .273/.316/.544.

Still, Perez vowed to fight through his thumb ailment and be there for his team. He explained why he continued to play through the ailment three weeks ago while the Royals were on a five-game losing streak in early June.

“I don’t want to let my teammates down. I’m part of this team,” Perez said then. “We fight together, and we win together.”

Matheny said Friday that Perez was “wrecked” by the news that he’d need surgery and would require significant time on the IL.

Olivares had gotten off to a hot start before his own setback. He batted .371 with a .421 on-base percentage in 15 games for the Royals in April and May before his quad injury.

Though his playing time has been limited this season, FanGraphs ranks Olivares’ contributions to the team (via WAR) as the fourth-highest among all Royals hitters this season, behind only Bobby Witt Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor.

The Star’s Lynn Worthy contributed to this report.