SEATTLE -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez knew just what he wanted for his 24th birthday on Saturday.
"Something good -- win the game," he said. "That's going to be good for me."
Perez was working on his birthday, catching younger pitcher Yordano Ventura, 22, against the Mariners. But he might get Sunday off to rest his aching left leg which was struck -- again -- by his own foul ball May 2.
"Yes, he'll probably get the day off," said Royals manager Ned Yost.
"It's not the shin, it's the calf. He's got a real big bruise on it and all that blood's draining down toward his ankle. It's still sore."
That's why, after hitting into what appears to be a sure out, Perez isn't running full speed. He's been told to gear down to minimize his running.
"The more running he does, the more it hurts," Yost said. "He starts off the day feeling pretty good but at the end of the day it's sore, but playable."
Perez also was happy to hear that Reds closer Aroldis Chapman had come off the disabled list on Saturday to resume his duties in the bullpen. Perez was the hitter on March 19 when a line drive off Chapman's 99-mph fastball struck the left-hander in the face in a scary Spring Training incident.
"Good for him," Perez said, smiling.
Perez knelt by Chapman on the mound as he was treated and visited him afterward at the hospital. All of the Royals were stunned by the severity of the injury.
"He recovered quick. It's a good thing," Yost said.
Hosmer shows early improvement over last season
SEATTLE -- Eric Hosmer's season is off to a much better start.
A year ago, after his first 35 games, Hosmer had a .256 (31-for-121) average with four doubles, a triple, one homer and 11 RBIs.
This year, after his first 35 games, Hosmer had a .326 (46-for-141) average with 13 doubles, just one homer again but 18 RBIs.
"I feel really good at the plate," the Royals' first baseman said before Saturday night's game against the Mariners. "I'm just trying to basically be as consistent as I can with my approach. I try to walk up to the plate, no matter what the situation is, and be consistent with the timing. The more times you're consistent, the better off the offense is going to be."
Hosmer has batted third in the order 29 times and second, including Saturday night, seven times. The hits keep coming.
"Some days they're going to fall, some days they're not, and right now they're falling, which is good," Hosmer said. "But times they're not, you can't take it with you after the game. You've got to realize, it's baseball and it happens."
He's not too concerned about the statistical sheet.
"You don't worry about the numbers, if they show up, they show up," he said.
Last year, after having one homer through June 12, he hit another 16 the rest of the season.
"The reality of it is we play in a big park but, at the same time, there's room for a lot of hits, a lot of doubles, a lot of gaps. I'm not worried about the lack of home runs because I've been driving the ball. I know during the summer those balls are going to fly more as it gets hotter and we travel to some better hitters' parks," Hosmer said.
So far the Royals have played often in chilly weather, home and away.
"The beginning of the season, especially in the Central, it's going to be cold. You've just got to grind it out. You've just got to battle until the summer comes, that's when everything heats up and the ball starts flying a little more," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.