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Shields, Perez working to develop rapport

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- James Shields, the Royals' new No. 1 pitcher, was a tapestry of team colors as he threw in the bullpen on Monday.

The team's new training caps have a white front panel on the crown, surrounded by blue. Shields also wore a blue long-sleeved shirt and blue shorts, the outfit accented by long white stockings. He was non-uniformly fashionable as he threw to catcher Salvador Perez.

Shields' every toss was scrutinized by pitching coach Dave Eiland, who stood behind him, and bullpen coach Doug Henry, who watched from behind Perez along with assistant general manager J.J. Picollo.

After finishing, Shields approached Perez for an intense conversation that lasted several minutes. Squatting and pointing at portions of the plate, Shields was obviously discussing his pitching tendencies with the young catcher.

"I was just kind of basically explaining to him where I wanted him to set up," Shields said. "Kind of my thinking on each pitch -- if I want to set him up in thirds or corner or middle. And kind of where I throw most of my pitches. Just having him get familiar with me and how I throw."

Shields has been hearing good things about Perez's work. In fact, he was in the Rays' dugout when Perez made his Major League debut against Tampa Bay in 2011 with a spectacular defensive display that included picking off two runners and catching five popups.

"He works hard, and looking from the opposing dugout, his energy is just phenomenal, so I'm excited to work with him," Shields said. "I'm going to slowly build a relationship with him in Spring Training so we don't have to worry about it during the season."

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