KANSAS CITY -- A day after his first big league start of the 2012 season, Royals catcher Salvador Perez got his first day off as the Royals resumed their I-70 Series against the Cardinals on Saturday.
It's all part of Royals manager Ned Yost's plan to ease his catcher back into the swing of things after a four-month stay on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"We're going to kind of really monitor his work load until the All-Star break," Yost said. "My plan was to catch him [Friday] night, easy today, probably catch him [Sunday] and probably catch him on Monday, give him a day off, then catch him again on Wednesday. We're just going to take it easy with him, ease him back into his work load. Maybe a day on, a day off, two days on, a day off and then once we get past the All-Star break, start extending him out a bit more."
Perez's return made it a grand total of three catchers on the Royals' roster. Humberto Quintero got the start in Saturday's game. Perez went 2-for-4, including a two-run homer, in Friday's loss.
The third catcher, Brayan Pena, said that he and Quintero are happy to have Perez back and that their roles have been known since Day 1.
"Everybody knows that Salvador Perez is the team's catcher, a leader," Pena said. "Any game that me and Humberto can get, I'm pretty sure we both appreciate it and we both do our best. Right now, it's just the fact that Salvador is back and it's great news for us as a team and for me, especially, and Humberto, because we like him. We understood that he would be back. We understood our role, and that's what we're here for."
Pena said he's been on three-catcher teams before and knows how to handle the situation.
"It's not my first rodeo," the veteran said with a smile.
With Friday's 11-4 loss to the Cardinals, the Royals fell to 2-8 in games following days off.
Offense has been the main problem in those struggles, as the Royals scored a total of 25 runs, while allowing a total of 57. Even in the two victories following off-days, the Royals scored just two runs in each contest.
Golfing great Tom Watson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's middle game of the I-70 series. Watson is a native of Kansas City and has won eight major championships.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.