5/25/2014 1:43 A.M. ET
Royals hope Perez's return provides a spark
By Earl Bloom / Special to MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Royals got All-Star and Gold Glove catcher Salvador Perez (sore hand) back in the lineup on Saturday for the first time since he left Monday's game in the eighth inning.
The offense-strapped Royals can use his bat. Perez is hitting .288 (17-for-58) in May, with three doubles and two homers.
In May, the Royals have a .244/.302/.339 slash line, with nine home runs and 77 runs in 21 games. Their home run leader, Mike Moustakas (four) was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday with a .152 average.
Perez took batting practice on the field on Friday, the last hurdle before his return.
"We had him ready to pinch-hit in the sixth last night, if we needed him," Yost said. "He's fine."
Snapping out of the Royals' offensive doldrums is a matter of two or three players coming through, he said, and it doesn't have to be the same players every night.
"We've gone through this before," Yost said. "They'll break out of it. It gets more magnified when you're going through it, but every team does. One swing can change it."
Yost accepts head-first slides as part of game
ANAHEIM -- The Royals' Ned Yost doesn't like head-first slides any more than any other Major League manager, but he said there's no way to stop players from the risky maneuver.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was hurt in that manner Friday night, joining the Angels' Josh Hamilton, the Nationals' Bryce Harper and the Rays' Ben Zobrist, all on the DL because of head-first slides. That's three All-Stars out, with Arenado a budding All-Star in his second season.
"You never like to see them do it, but it's just a reaction," Yost said Saturday before the game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. "It's more natural to them than sliding feet first.
"Where I really don't like it is sliding into first."
Asked if managers could keep their players from sliding head first by making it a team rule and issuing fines to violators, Yost said: "No, that doesn't work. It's been tried."
• At Triple-A Omaha, third baseman Mike Moustakas, who was sent down on Thursday, went 1-for-4 with a walk. Omar Infante played second base in his second game of a rehab assignment and went 2-for-4 in the Storm Chasers' 9-3 victory over Round Rock.
• Former Royals star Mike Sweeney delivered an RBI single, a blooper, to score Aaron Rowand for Phil Niekro's team in the Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday at Cooperstown, N.Y. With 6,063 fans at Doubleday Field, Niekro's Knucksies and Ozzie Smith's Wizards played to 4-4 tie in a game featuring alumni of all 30 teams. A spring shower ended the game in the sixth inning.
Alex Gonzalez won the pregame home run derby and said: "I thought Jim Thome was going to be the favorite. Him or Mike Sweeney. They just have the natural home run swing, where they get in a groove and you just can't beat them." But he did.
• The Royals are 17-4 this season when Nori Aoki scores a run, and they're 5-0 when he scores multiple runs, with Saturday's 7-4 victory factoring in both marks, as the leadoff man went 2-for-7 with two runs scored.
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. Royals beat reporter Dick Kaegel contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.