Quintero, 32, was designated for assignment on Wednesday as the Royals juggled their roster on Wednesday morning.
To replace Quintero on the roster, the Royals recalled outfielder Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha. Bourgeois was obtained with Quintero in a trade that brought them from the Astros in exchange for Minor League reliever Kevin Chapman and outfielder D'Andre Toney.
The Royals also optioned left-handed reliever Francisley Bueno back to Omaha to clear space on the 25-man roster for pitcher Everett Teaford, who was recalled from Omaha to start the afternoon game against the Rays.
Bourgeois, 30, was hitting .205 with two home runs and five RBIs in 40 games with Omaha. A speedster, he had five stolen bases in nine attempts. With Kansas City at the start of the season, Bourgeois played in seven games, and was 3-for-14 (.214) with one steal in three tries. He was optioned out on April 27.
Bourgeois, a right-handed batter, was in the Royals' starting lineup against the Rays on Wednesday, playing center field instead of left-handed-hitting Jarrod Dyson.
"We've got a chance to see a bunch of lefties in the next week, 10 days," manager Ned Yost said. "We need another right-handed bat in the lineup."
For Omaha, Bourgeois owned a .324 (12-for-37) mark against left-handed pitchers. In the Majors, he's 63-for-197 (.320) against lefties.
Bueno's stay in the Majors was brief. He arrived on Saturday when pitcher Roman Colon was designated for assignment. Bueno appeared in two games, finishing up Tuesday night's 8-2 victory over the Rays with a scoreless ninth inning.
Perez returned to active duty last Friday; he went on the disabled list after undergoing left knee surgery on March 16.
Dropping Quintero means that Brayan Pena will serve as Perez's backup, catching about three games a week as Perez is eased gradually into full-time duty.
Quintero has a $1 million salary this year and is coming up on free agency in the offseason. Pena, making $875,000, is under the Royals' control for one more year.
That was a key consideration.
"We have Brayan under control for next year, he wasn't going to be a free agent," Yost said. "We like Brayan, he's improved as a catcher. He's an offensive guy who's getting better defensively and he's under control for next year."
Yost said that general manager Dayton Moore would try to place Quintero on a Major League roster with another organization.
Obtained on March 20, Quintero had played in 43 games this season, including 40 starts behind the plate. Known primarily as a good defensive catcher with a quick arm, the right-handed-hitting Quintero had a .232 average with 12 doubles, one home run and 19 RBIs.
"He saved us, he picked us up big time," Yost said. "He did a great job for us, we're really going to miss him. Great in the clubhouse, great on the field."
Pena, a switch-hitter who is considered a better hitter than Quintero, is hitting .268 with eight doubles, one homer and 13 RBIs in 40 games. Pena has started 39 games at catcher.
Quintero often made snap throws in an effort to pick off baserunners, or at least hold them close to the base. He nabbed 12 since the beginning of the 2010 season, which is the most in the Majors. He had one for the Royals, picking off the Angels' Bobby Wilson on April 7.
His departure ends the reunion of the "compadres," Quintero and fellow Venezuelan product pitcher Felipe Paulino. Godfathers of each other's children, they were teammates on the Astros and are neighbors in Houston. Paulino also is out of the Royals' 2012 picture headed for Tommy John surgery.
In the past, Quintero had been paired off with pitchers Paulino, Luke Hochevar, Luis Mendoza and Jonathan Sanchez while Pena handled Bruce Chen and others such as Vin Mazzaro and Nate Adcock. However, Yost said that system would cease with the implication that Perez would be catching most of the starters with his increased playing time.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.