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K.C. catcher Perez sidelined

March 15, 2012

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— Salvador Perez will open the season on the disabled list instead of as the Kansas City Royals’ starting catcher.

Perez will have surgery on his left knee to repair a lateral meniscus tear. He injured his knee warming up starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez in the bullpen before a 7-5 victory Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds. Perez caught the first inning but left with a noticeable limp and was replaced by Cody Clark. A MRI on Tuesday night revealed the tear.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Wednesday that in a best-case scenario, Perez would be out three to four weeks and not be ready for the April 6 opener against the Los Angeles Angels. The surgery will determine the severity of the cartilage tear and how much time he will miss.

“I’m very sad,” Perez said with Brayan Pena acting as his interpreter. “It’s my first year, and I was very motivated, and it’s very painful. But hopefully I can bounce back and I’ll be fine.”

Mariners 6, Royals 2

Peoria, Ariz. — Kevin Millwood shut out Kansas City for four innings in his most effective start of the spring, and Michael Saunders drove in a pair of runs with a double as part of a four-run sixth inning to lead the Seattle Mariners over the Royals, 6-2, on Wednesday night.

High-level prospect Vinnie Catricala also knocked in two runs with singles in the fourth and sixth innings as the Mariners improved to 10-3 this spring.

Ichiro Suzuki had two hits for the Mariners and scored a run, and Millwood walked three and allowed a hit in four innings.

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