SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Odalis Perez is penciled in as the Royals' No. 2 starter, but that is certainly with a No. 2 lead that can be erased, not indelible ink.
Perez was pulled after three innings on Thursday in the 7-5 victory over the Rangers with a blister on his middle left finger. It was the second time in three starts that Perez exited after three innings because of the blister on the same finger.
While Perez said the blister is minor and he would not miss his Wednesday start against the Red Sox, manager Buddy Bell was not so certain.
"I don't know what his status is right now for the second game of the season," Bell said. "I don't know if we'll be careful with Zack's [Greinke] pitch count or not when he pitches [Friday] night."
Greinke is scheduled to start the third game of the season, but could be moved to the second slot because of Perez's recurring blister. With the Royals breaking camp in Arizona and Houston-bound for two games with the Astros, Perez's standing in the rotation will be a major topic on the plane.
"When we get to Houston we'll decide what Plan B is," Bell said. "We haven't gotten there. Odalis tells us he is going to be able to pitch, but we don't want him to have to deal with this every other start. We'll see what happens. The time before this he had the same issue. He said he could have gone back out there, but I didn't want to do that.
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"We'll see what Nick [Swartz, trainer] has to say, see what Odalis has to say, see what
[pitching coach Bob McClure] has to say and we'll make a decision based on all the information we have."
Perez does not believe the blister should prevent him from starting on Wednesday.
"It's a little one, but I don think it's a big concern," Perez said. "They stopped me in the third inning, so it would not get worse. They want me ready for the season. I'll be ready for the season. I got stopped because it was Spring Training. If this was the season, I'd say, 'Let me go
Perez allowed one run on two hits, both singles, walked none and struck out
one against the Rangers. He has no decisions and a 4.70 ERA in five starts, but only 15 1/3 innings.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.