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Perez racking up hits before Classic departure

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez is batting often and well.

Perez went 3-for-3 and scored two runs in Sunday's 7-5 victory over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium. In three Cactus League games, Perez is 5-for-9, all singles, with one walk.

Manager Ned Yost is helping Perez pile up some plate appearances before he leaves next weekend to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He caught in two games and was the designated hitter in the other.

"I talked to Ned and said I wanted a lot of at-bats. I want to be ready for the WBC," Perez said. "Tomorrow I'll DH again and the next day I'll catch."

Yost is also trying to get at-bats for infielders Miguel Tejada (Dominican Republic) and Irving Falu (Puerto Rico) before they leave for the Classic. Tejada, who went hitless on Sunday, is 1-for-6 so far, and Falu, after two singles Sunday, is 2-for-5.

In addition, Classic pitchers Tim Collins (USA) and Kelvin Herrera (Dominican Republic) got their first work of the Cactus League season on Sunday. Collins was tagged for three runs, giving up two walks and a two-run homer to Leury Garcia in his one inning.

"Collins was all over the place but with electric stuff and the same with Herrera. Herrera was off but his stuff was fantastic, so I was pleased there for first-time outings."

Collins threw 30 pitches with 15 strikes and Herrera tossed 17 pitches, eight strikes. Louis Coleman pitched a perfect inning and was rewarded with the victory. Michael Mariot's scoreless ninth with two strikeouts earned him the save.

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