KANSAS CITY -- For eight games, the Royals missed Salvador Perez's enthusiasm and leadership behind the plate, but relief came Tuesday, when he returned to the lineup against the Twins. In a corresponding move, the team optioned catcher Adam Moore to Triple-A Omaha.
"The thing about Salvador is he's got a real energy about him," manager Ned Yost said. "When he plays the game, he plays it with a lot of passion, he plays it with a lot of energy, plus he's as good as there is in this league behind the plate. It creates a big hole when he's not here, so to have him back is a real nice feeling."
Not only is he the Royals' best catcher, but he also enters Tuesday's series opener with the second best batting average on the team. His .311 average enters Tuesday's play ranked second among American League catchers behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer. He also holds the club record for pickoffs by a catcher with nine in his career.
Just how much did they miss him?
"On a scale of 1 to 10? About 10 3/4," Yost said. "He's an integral part of our team."
Perez left the team on May 26 to spend time with his family in Venezuela following the passing of his maternal grandmother. He was on bereavement leave, then moved to the restricted list after reaching his seven-day limit.
The team went 2-6 in his absence, with George Kottaras and Moore splitting his duties.
Last week, Yost mentioned that he would like to see Perez back hitting third in the order, but he'll give him a couple days to warm up again.
"It's been eight, nine days, so we'll let him get a couple games under his belt and see what happens," Yost said.
Perez lined out to shortstop in his first at-bat and went 0-for-3 in Tuesday's 3-0 loss, but said he didn't feel rusty.
"I did a little work down in Venezuela, so I feel the same," Perez said. "I feel good -- a little late on my swing, but I'll be doing better tomorrow."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com and Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.