Everyone enjoys having a day off. It is a time to unwind, to get away from the job and to clear the mind before getting back to work the next day. Sometimes, those mental breaks are desperately needed, just to keep a person from being burned out or overworked.
The same holds true in professional sports, particularly at catcher. Considering the abuse that catchers take on a daily basis, be it from blocking pitches in the dirt to foul tips off their body, catchers go through a lot of wear and tear behind the plate. That wear and tear certainly had to be a factor when it came to Salvador Perez‘s second half slump last season.
While Perez played in 150 games last season, including an astonishing 146 behind the plate, that is not expected to be the case this season. Once again, Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals coaching staff is looking for ways to give Perez more time off behind the plate. Yesterday, Yost reiterated his commitment to keeping Perez from seeing that much action as a catcher again this season, including the idea that he could be used more as a designated hitter this year.
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Putting Salvador Perez in the Kansas City Royals lineup as the designated hitter would certainly serve to keep his bat in the lineup while keeping him fresh. This would also allow Yost the ability to give more rest to both Kendrys Morales and possibly Eric Hosmer. While Morales was one of the Royals bigger free agent signings, using both Perez and Alex Rios in that role can help throughout the course of the season, presumably keeping each player healthier than they would have been.
That decline is certainly evident when looking at Perez’s numbers in the second half last season. Dealing with the daily beating he took behind the plate, as well as a concussion, Perez slumped to a .229/.236/.360 bating line in the second half. Giving Perez more rest, and a few more days as the Kansas City Royals designated hitter, would presumably allow him to hit closer to that .283/.329/.437 batting line he posted in the first half of the season.
For the Kansas City Royals to build off of last season and reach the playoffs once again, they are likely to need a strong season from Salvador Perez. Keeping him healthy, and decreasing his workload behind the plate, would certainly seem to be a way to help make that happen. Now, we just need to see if these plans made during Spring Training translate over to the regular season.