MLB

Salvador Perez to have thumb surgery, expected back this season

By Sports Desk June 24, 2022

Catcher Salvador Perez will undergo surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, the Kansas City Royals announced on Friday.

The procedure will sideline Perez for an extended period, although the Royals said in a statement that the seven-time All-Star is expected to return this season.

Perez, whose 48 home runs in 2021 tied Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero for the major league lead, initially injured his thumb while swinging in mid-May.

He returned on May 28 but aggravated the injury while catching in Kansas City's win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. 

The 32-year-old leads the Royals with 11 homers this season while adding 34 RBIs in 57 games, although his .211 average and .254 on-base percentage are the lowest marks of his 11-year MLB career.

Perez earned his fourth career Silver Slugger Award in 2021 after tying a Royals season record for home runs and leading the majors with 121 RBIs. The veteran is also a five-time Gold Glove Award winner at catcher.

Perez's absence will allow the Royals to give an extended look to rookie MJ Melendez behind the plate.

The 23-year-old Melendez, who entered the season as MLB.com's number 51 overall prospect, led the minor leagues with 41 homers in 2021 while splitting the season between Double and Triple A.

Melendez has hit .234 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 45 games with Kansas City since being called up in early May. 

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