9/8/2013 7:11 P.M. ET
Perez to play closer to the batter behind the plate
By Dick Kaegel and Kathleen Gier / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez bypassed the suggestion to use a hockey-style catcher's mask, but he has moved closer to the batter behind home plate.
"I was doing that yesterday," Perez said on Sunday. "A little bit, just a little bit. I can't tell you exactly."
It's just a matter of a few inches, depending on such variances as the batter and the pitch called, but the hope is that being closer will help Perez avoid some of the foul tips to the mask that have plagued him. He missed one week because of a concussion and recently left a game because of dizziness.
Perez wasn't too deep in the catcher's box anyway.
"He was about right. He wasn't extraordinarily far back," said manager Ned Yost, a former catcher. "We just moved him up a little bit to see if we can keep some of those foul balls off his head, get him up under the hitter some. The ball doesn't have as far to travel so you can deflect it a little quicker."
Perez decided against the hockey-style mask and head gear because it didn't feel comfortable, so he wears his conventional mask hung over a helmet.
He was out of the starting lineup on Sunday against the Tigers for what Yost figures probably will be the last time this season. After Sunday, the Royals will have 19 games left, but with two scheduled days off, unlike their recent grind.
"You've got to remember we're going through 44 games in 44 days and it's going to be 100 degrees out there," Yost said. "It is difficult, but we anticipate this one, with our fingers crossed, that this is going to be the last one of the year for him."
The break comes a day after Perez's two-run homer off Justin Verlander beat the Tigers, 4-3.
Holland becomes fourth KC closer with 40 saves
KANSAS CITY -- With another save on Sunday, Greg Holland became the fourth player in franchise history to record 40 saves in a season. Holland, a first-year All-Star, joined Jeff Montgomery, Dan Quisenberry and Joakim Soria as the only Royals pitchers to accomplish the feat.
"Especially when you know guys personally like Monty and Soria, yeah, it's nice to be in good company," Holland said.
Holland has converted 40 of his 43 save opportunities this season and allowed only nine earned runs in 58 innings for a 1.40 ERA this season.
"It's a huge number -- 40 saves puts you in the upper echelon," manager Ned Yost said. "Anything past 35 puts you in the upper echelon for me, but he's one of the top closers in the game, his numbers bear that out."
Holland snapped a streak of 31 consecutive saves on Thursday, but he still holds the second-longest run in franchise history behind Soria's 36 in 2010. Since then, he's bounced back with two straight saves.
"I think when you step on the field, you've got to feel like you're pretty good or you're [destined] to fail," Holland said. "We've got a lot of guys that are confident in their abilities when they step on the mound or get in the box. I feel pretty confident in myself and my abilities."
Cain returns to lineup for first time in a month
KANSAS CITY -- For the first time in a month, outfielder Lorenzo Cain was in the starting lineup. On Sunday, he started in right field and batted sixth against the Tigers.
Cain was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 10 with an oblique strain and missed 25 games with the injury. He played sparingly as a late-game defensive replacement with two hitless at-bats this week leading up to his return.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Cain said. "I've got to go out there and make adjustments as quick as possible. I didn't get a chance to rehab, but at the same time I've got to go out there and get it done because we're in a playoff run here. I've got to do what I can to help this team."
Entering Sunday's game, Cain was batting .259 with 26 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs. He's also been a force on defense with a career-high seven outfield assists this season.
"He really improves our defense when he's out there," manager Ned Yost said. "With him, [Jarrod] Dyson and Alex Gordon in the outfield, it's as good an outfield defensive alignment as you can ask for, in my opinion. Once he gets hot, he can really drive the ball. I thought he had some good swings. We had to start working him back in there sooner or later, so we decided sooner."
Davis settling into bullpen role
KANSAS CITY --- After two relief appearances, Wade Davis is adjusting back to life in the bullpen.
"The only thing that's really different is getting ready quicker," Davis said. "Everything else is kind of similar, except not having to save your bullets. That's the biggest adjustment really. Getting ready quicker and getting the heart going."
He was a starter until last year with Tampa Bay, when he compiled a 3-0 record and 2.43 ERA in 70 1/3 innings coming out of the bullpen. After being traded to the Royals in the offseason, he switched back to the starting rotation. He started 24 games this season and went 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA in 125 1/3 innings.
He was moved to the bullpen on Aug. 27, and Danny Duffy took his spot in the rotation. Since then, he's gotten the call twice. In both situations, the bases were loaded, and he allowed just one inherited runner to score.
"This is a different guy now," manager Ned Yost said after the game. "This is reliever Davis, who has experience. He did it three nights ago, exact same situation. Bases loaded and he got out of it with one run. He's a guy that I trust in that situation to get us outs."
As for whether he'd have the chance to move back to the rotation, Yost said that was a decision that would wait till after the season ends.
"Wade is going to be a key for us in the next 20 days out of that bullpen," Yost said.
Bonifacio fitting in nicely with Royals
KANSAS CITY -- Emilio Bonifacio has only been with the Royals for a couple weeks, but he already said it feels like family.
"I feel like I've been here forever, because I've gotten a lot of support from everyone," Bonifacio said. "Everybody plays together and plays hard because it feels like home."
Bonifacio was acquired from the Blue Jays on Aug. 14 and entering Sunday's game, he has played 24 games with the Royals and batted .314 with 13 stolen bases.
"He's fit in perfectly with our program, our team," manager Ned Yost said. "He brings life, he brings energy, he loves to play the game. He's been very good anywhere we've put him defensively. He runs to the bases like a phenom, swings the bat well from both sides."
He brought versatility to the Royals as their only switch-hitter, and he's already played three different positions starting at second base, third base and center field.
"I like it when they pick me, because they know what I can do or how I can help them out," Bonifacio said. "I've been playing the last four years in that situation. Wherever they need me, I will be out there."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.