Royals' Perez to miss 4-6 weeks after tearing MCL while walking up stairs

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals reacts after being struck out by Cleveland Indians' Joe Smith during the sixth inning at Progressive Field on September 14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Royals 3-2 for their 22nd win in a row, an MLB record.
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The Kansas City Royals received some devastating news less than 24 hours ahead of their season opener against the Chicago White Sox, as manager Ned Yost confirmed Wednesday that All-Star catcher Salvador Perez has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL tear and will miss four-to-six weeks.

Perez, who hit .350 with six home runs in 16 Cactus League games this spring, slipped while carrying a suitcase up the stairs at his house, Yost explained, while adding that the 27-year-old likely won't require corrective surgery.

"It's kind of weird," Perez said, via Rustin Dodd of The Athletic. "I was talking to my mom last night, and I feel sad. Because if I get hurt playing, that's what I do. I play hard every day. That's going to happen."

The freak injury snapped a remarkable stretch of good health for Perez, who's logged at least 129 games played in each of the past five seasons and leads the majors in innings caught (5,603 2/3) over that span.

In Perez's absence, Drew Butera will catch Danny Duffy on Thursday, marking the first time since 2012 that someone other than Perez starts behind the plate for the Royals on Opening Day.

Perez, an All-Star in each of the past five years, was expected to hit cleanup for a rebuilding Royals team this season. In 2017, he smashed a career-high 27 home runs while managing a .792 OPS in 129 games. The four-time Gold Glover also finished 14th among catchers in WAR (2.1).