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Perez preparing for absence due to Classic


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Catcher Salvador Perez could miss nearly 2 1/2 weeks of Spring Training if his Venezuela team advances to the championship round of the World Baseball Classic. But the Royals' young catcher says he's not concerned.

He's scheduled to leave for Venezuela's camp in Jupiter, Fla., on March 3. There are three games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 7-10 against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Spain. The last day of the championship round is March 19.

"I could be gone two weeks if we advance, if not I could be back in a week," Perez said.

Anticipating his absence, Perez has accelerated the process of getting to know the pitching tendencies of newcomers James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana. Will his absence cause a problem?

"Nah, we've got a lot of time before I leave," he said. "And when I come back, we'll have 14 or 15 more games. We'll have plenty of time."

Now that left-hander Bruce Chen has dropped his plan to play for China, the Royals have five other players in their Major League camp committed to the World Baseball Classic: pitcher Kelvin Herrera and shortstop Miguel Tejada, Dominican Republic; pitcher Tim Collins, USA; pitcher Luis Mendoza, Mexico, and second baseman Irving Falu, Puerto Rico.

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