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Perez to play closer to the batter behind the plate

Perez to play closer to the batter behind the plate

Perez to play closer to the batter behind the plate

KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez bypassed the suggestion to use a hockey-style catcher's mask, but he has moved closer to the batter behind home plate.

"I was doing that yesterday," Perez said on Sunday. "A little bit, just a little bit. I can't tell you exactly."

It's just a matter of a few inches, depending on such variances as the batter and the pitch called, but the hope is that being closer will help Perez avoid some of the foul tips to the mask that have plagued him. He missed one week because of a concussion and recently left a game because of dizziness.

Perez wasn't too deep in the catcher's box anyway.

"He was about right. He wasn't extraordinarily far back," said manager Ned Yost, a former catcher. "We just moved him up a little bit to see if we can keep some of those foul balls off his head, get him up under the hitter some. The ball doesn't have as far to travel so you can deflect it a little quicker."

Perez decided against the hockey-style mask and head gear because it didn't feel comfortable, so he wears his conventional mask hung over a helmet.

He was out of the starting lineup on Sunday against the Tigers for what Yost figures probably will be the last time this season. After Sunday, the Royals will have 19 games left, but with two scheduled days off, unlike their recent grind.

"You've got to remember we're going through 44 games in 44 days and it's going to be 100 degrees out there," Yost said. "It is difficult, but we anticipate this one, with our fingers crossed, that this is going to be the last one of the year for him."

The break comes a day after Perez's two-run homer off Justin Verlander beat the Tigers, 4-3.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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