August 10, 2011; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Royals Are Starting to Get Healthy Again


It’s been a rough year. The Royals play on the field hasn’t been great, but they’ve also been struck by the injury bug. As a result, the Royals opened the year without their franchise catcher, their closer of the last four and a half years, a key starter and have seen injuries befall their most talented young starter, two of their second basemen, their prospective everyday center fielder and other players, mostly pitchers.

Again, it’s been a rough year.

Danny Duffy, Joakim Soria and Blake Wood are done for the year. Tommy John surgery has claimed all three. Felipe Paulino hit the DL after an awkward landing while fielding an infield grounder. Salvador Perez and Manuel Pina both had meniscus surgeries in spring training. Lorenzo Cain hasn’t played two full series after straining his groin, then having the ailment re-diagnosed as a hip flexor and having two rehab stints aborted.

Thankfully, though, the Royals are starting to see some players return.

On Tuesday, Chris Getz returned from a rib injury to join the club in time for their first game against Milwaukee. Everett Teaford had an abdominal strain that had him rehabbing in Omaha until today. He was activated today – and then optioned to Omaha. But hey, he’s healthy.

Jonathan Sanchez ran into bicep tendinitis and has been on the disabled list for a while, but he was announced as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. He’s struggled in 2012, but perhaps some of the problem has been his health (though maybe that’s just wishful thinking).

Cain has had a rocky recovery after a great play in Oakland. What was thought to be a minor injury has now kept Cain off the shelf for almost half the year, and there’s no timetable for his return yet. The Royals have mostly used Jarrod Dyson in center, but he’s been in a big slump over the last month and is only now showing signs of coming out of it. He’s made plays in center, but at times he’ll play more shallow and doesn’t take good routes to the ball and his speed isn’t enough to make up the difference. Mitch Maier is better at defensive routes to the ball, but his speed is nowhere near Dyson’s. Cain (when healthy) can be the best of both with upside at the plate. He just has to be on the field to show it.

The biggest injuries have been behind the plate. Manuel Pina and Salvador Perez have been recovering from meniscus surgery but are close to returning. The impact of the Perez injury has been felt in a few ways within the organization. First, the Royals had to trade for Humberto Quintero to fill the gap, giving up two players to bring he and Jason Bourgeois into the fold. Secondly, they’ve had to play Quintero, who makes an out nearly three of every four plate appearances. A healthy Perez would have left Quintero and Brayan Pena in a backup role, giving their at bats to a player the Royals think has more promise at the plate, and who plays better defense and who pitchers love throwing to.

Defensively, both catchers have held their own, but it will be great to get Perez back. The actual date varies, as the Royals want to see him be able to catch on consecutive days without issue, but Perez will be back anywhere from next week to the end of June. Pina had a setback while running, but could come back before the end of the year.

While in Omaha, Perez has 12 hits in 27 at bats and drove in three runs in each of his last two games. Whenever he’s ready, he’ll be a welcome addition to the Royals lineup.

If Sanchez can return with any effectiveness, Getz returns to his solid April form and Cain can finally get back, adding Perez to that group of the recovered could make the second half of 2012 interesting for the Royals. They won’t be at full strength, since Paulino may need some time to heal fully and Duffy won’t be back until next year at the earliest, but they’ll be closer to where they thought they might be before the season started.

Last year, the Royals were remarkably healthy, with only a handful of players hitting the disabled list all season. Fortune has flipped on them in 2012, and they’re only now starting to recover from it. But they are recovering. That’s the important part.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Danny Duffy Jonathan Sanchez Kansas City Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Lorenzo Cain MLB Royals Salvador Perez

  • jim fetterolf

    A small note on Quintero, last I looked a week or so ago his RBI/PA was higher than Big Bill, Alex, Moose, or Hoz. For a team with issues driving in runs that shouldn’t be disparaged.

  • michael.allen.engel

     @jim fetterolf RBI is so contextual though that I’m always wary of relying TOO much on it to say someone is a producer. He makes outs over 70% of the time. That cuts into any good things he may do. 
     
    If he were to get 600 PA, do you really think he’d have more RBI than Butler et al? That’s the implication you’re making. His hits have happened to come while the players in front of him – who don’t make outs at a 70%+ clip – have already reached. If he were batting in a lineup of all Humberto Quinteros, he wouldn’t be in that spot because the runners wouldn’t be on to drive in (theoretically speaking). 
     
    I’m not going to dog him for his RBI/PA (mostly because, frankly, I just don’t see that as an important ratio to measure), but he’s fair game for being criticized for inability to get on base.

  • jim fetterolf

     @michael.allen.engel Given the team’s RISP, RBI/PA looks to be important. Getting on base doesn’t mean anything if the runner doesn’t score, as Big Bill demonstrated the first half of last year with a .400 OBP and a .2 runs scored and driven in per at bat, identical to Matt Treanor’s at the time I figured it. Outside of fantasy leagues, of course. My point is not that Q is a hitting god, but that he is productive in ways that fangraphs and moneyball don’t yet quantify.

  • Kevin Scobee

     @jim fetterolf Not making outs = runs. Making out = not making runs. It is the most fundamental premise to a game that is governed by outs, not time.

  • jim fetterolf

     @Kevin Scobee Kind of chickenshit going on twitter, isn’t it, or was that Mike? Clint Scoles did that the other day.
     
    Agree that getting on base is important, haven’t denied that, just pointing out that walking down to first base is only part of producing runs, that someone needs to drive the runs in, so actually producing RBIs should be considered a valuable contribution. You may have been happier with Big Bill and his .400 OBP at one point last year while others were more impressed when he went into an OBP “slump” while homering and driving in runs and stuff. Just different viewpoints. RISP shows us relative importance, as do the number of games that tying and winning runs are left on base in the 8th and 9th.

  • Kevin Scobee

     @jim fetterolf no more “chickenshit” than going on other websites and taking shots at us for being simple “bloggers”. I had a lot of fun debating with you on these kinds of things before, and I’ve been nothing but nice and gracious to you for actually reading my stuff (something I’m unsure if any do), but once I’ve seen your comments elsewhere using the “nerd blogger” position, you’ve ruined the experience for me with our conversations. 
     
    Was I wrong? Sure. So were you.

  • michael.allen.engel

     @jim fetterolf  @Kevin Scobee See, I’ll buy that Butler instance better than just tossing out some contrived RBI/PA stat based on Quintero. I just don’t think you can discount that OBP matters a lot – if you get on base, you’re not out, rally continues. Over time, that’s going to result in more runs. 
     
    Someone has to drive them in, sure, but in the case of Quintero/Butler et al, maybe they don’t drive them in, but the “stars” group is more likely to at least consider the rally when they don’t make an out at the rate that Quintero does. I think it’s a fair criticism of HQ, RBI/PA or not. Maybe he has a better ratio than most – that only makes up one part of his contributions at the plate and I’d say his only part. I just don’t think it matters that much when that’s all he contributes. 
     
    I think we can all agree, we’re going to be a lot better once Sal gets back. That just makes HQ a simple backup and limits his low OBP impact. 

  • Kevin Scobee

     @michael.allen.engel  @jim fetterolf I still haven’t decided if I like new Power-Low walk Billy over High walk-”iffy” Power Billy. Walks usually lead to power; not the other way around. I’m still up in there air. I’d really like him to be .350/.500/.600, but whatevs

  • jim fetterolf

     @Kevin Scobee  @michael.allen.engel  The change in iso OBP, another contrived statistic, has much less to do with Billy choosing to chase balls than the unwillingness of pitchers to work around him now without Matt Treanor on deck. OBP has a contextual element to it, as do most stats in a team sport.

  • michael.allen.engel

     @Kevin Scobee  @jim fetterolf I think there’s some chicken and egg going on with some of that. Jose Bautista has a big walkrate, but is that because he has otherworldly power? 
     
    Butler seems to be striking out more swinging too so he’s taking a more aggressive approach. Maybe it’s an adjustment to get used to it. 

  • jim fetterolf

     @michael.allen.engel  @Kevin Scobee I only mentioned it as one part of the whole. I disagreed with trading for him, as Greg Schaum made a good case that kevin Chapman had value and I thought he would be part of the bullpen carousel this year.
     
    As for Sal, of course he’ll maybe be better overall, but Sal was hurt. That doesn’t diminish that Q is here and now and has contributed. He and Pena have surprised me a little, I expected C to be a disaster under the circumstances. Last I heard it will probably be another week or more on the Savior, then they’re talking about keeping three catchers, which I really don’t care for. Q is the odd man out and I wish him well with his next team.

  • Kevin Scobee

     @michael.allen.engel  @jim fetterolf nah, Bautista has always had a pretty good walk-rate (walk-percentage? Whatever we’re calling it), it’s only recently it’s been ridiculous. But even in his limited at bats in season’s past it’s been in the 9% range. 

  • jim fetterolf

     @Kevin Scobee Don’t remember mentioning you folks in anything other than a complimentary manner, even recommended a good writer to you, Mark Owens, as his POV and literacy make him a possibility to contribute here.
     
    As for “bloggers”, that would be writers who don’t have access so pontificate on news provided by others, the journalists. That’s basically what I do. It’s hardly an insult, just a recognition that we don’t have press passes and talk to the kids and coaches after a game.
     
    As for “nerd blogger”, didn’t mean to offend anyone but the actual targets.  As I remember, you and Mike both have actual coaching experience and, like Greg Schaum, are able to offer insights that few other bloggers can on “program” pitchers. That is why I cite your articles elsewhere and recommend the site to “my” readers.
     
    As for the Twit stuff, I may just be over sensitized after the Scoles thing. I’ve been quite supportive of both sites, linking articles, recommending them, trying to bring a wide variety of information sources to my primary audience, most of whom never heard of fantasy baseball or OBP.

  • Kevin Scobee

     @jim fetterolf  @michael.allen.engel an issue I have with Quintero is that he’s excused for being “good enough”. I’m tired of “good enough” stop-gaps. I’d like to have guys that are actually good for a change. 
     
    I know that it’s hard for catcher to be that position because it’s so hard to fill anyway, especially when your starter and original backup go down, but still. 

  • Kevin Scobee

     @jim fetterolf well then we’re both being over sensitive, and I owe you an apology. I’m sorry.

  • jim fetterolf

     @Kevin Scobee  @michael.allen.engel The alternative was Cody Clark, whom I preferred because he knew the pitchers and had paid his dues. Everybody wishes we could have gotten Matt Wieters off the waiver wire, but that didn’t happen. The Royals wanted a catcher quick to try to give him familiarity with the staff and Q is what GMDM could get at that moment. Losing both the team’s 1st and 3rd catcher right together a few weeks before the season is an unpredictable event and even harder for the Royals in that C is something of a systemic weakness and may be for years to come, keep hearing that Cam Galleger(sp?) looks like a future 1st baseman and Julius Rodruiquz at Springdale is the closest hope after Pina.

  • jim fetterolf

     @Kevin Scobee And I owe you one, I probably over reacted. I never intended to libel you folks in the same breath as disparaging remarks meant somewhat humorously for Judging the Royals long-time frenemies. Let’s just forget it.

  • Kevin Scobee

     @jim fetterolf  @michael.allen.engel is Gallagher the 2nd rounder from last year? I thought the main reason everyone was exited for him was because of his catching ability? That sucks.

  • michael.allen.engel

     @jim fetterolf  @Kevin Scobee I prefer Pena, who I don’t think gets enough credit for what he can do as a defensive catcher and can hit some, but I think the Royals will keep Quintero, if nothing else so they have something to cling to after that trade. 

  • michael.allen.engel

     @Kevin Scobee  @jim fetterolf Yeah Gallagher is gonna catch for now, but there are suspicions of his ability to stay back there. He has some upside as a hitter too, so it may be one of those deals where he’d have to be great behind the plate to keep his bat out of the lineup more frequently as a catcher than at first or the OF or what have you. 

  • jim fetterolf

     @michael.allen.engel  @Kevin Scobee Amongst the old-school types, Pena is preferred; switch-hitter, much improved defender, good organizational guy who wants to be here. I assume GMDM is trying to swing a trade for anything that moves for Q, along with Yuni, Sanchez, maybe Mijares, and will entertain offers for Broxton, with a few minor leaguers including David Lough, Clint Robinson, perhaps Giavotella, and Tony Abreu in the mix.