, Ariz. (AP) — was amiss.In his heavily accented English, the six-time All-Star catcher spent some time joking with teammates. He bounced from one end of Kansas City’s spring training clubhouse to the next, displaying the same kind of youthful exuberance as the rookies trying to scrap for a spot on the Royals.Indeed, could never tell that his right elbow housed a damaged ulnar collateral ligament that made it painful even to hit, and that it could require surgery that keeps him out all season.“I have to prepare for that. That’s going to be the worst thing,” Perez said, finally unable to mask the underlying concern. “We’re going to Los Angeles for a second opinion and we’ll see.”The injury occurred during a workout Wednesday, when Perez was playing long toss. He waited until the next morning to see whether the pain remained, and then spoke to Royals trainer Nick Kenney, who ordered an MRI exam that revealed the extent of the injury.Kenney said no recommendations have been made to have Perez undergo Tommy John surgery, but it is a distinct possibility. More will be known on Tuesday, when Perez visits Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who is considered one of the premier orthopedic surgeons in baseball.“What we have here is an injury that is severe enough to where we have concern,” Kenney said. “A lot of times we go worst-case scenario and work backward, because if you go worst-case scenario you can prepare yourself for anything. So that’s where we’re at.”The 2015 World Series MVP is coming off a season in which he hit a career-low .235, but he still matched a career high with 27 homers and 80 RBIs. He also remained one of the premier defensive catchers in the game, and his leadership in a young and evolving clubhouse is considered crucial.The Royals are in the midst of a massive rebuilding effort, and backup catchers Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria are poised to step into a much bigger role sooner than expected.“You know, that’s what we’re going to struggle with emotionally Josh Tomlin Jersey
,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said, “because Salvy, you can’t measure what he means to a team. It’s not just on the team. It’s in the clubhouse, it’s in the community. His enthusiasm is so infectious.”“He represents in my opinion a lot of what this game should be about,” Moore continued. “He loves to play baseball. He’s enthusiastic. Whether he’s on a great streak or a poor streak during the season, I mean, the fans love watching him play because of his enthusiasm. He’s very charismatic. He does a lot on the field that case you to say, ‘Wow!'”Moore said there was no indication Perez was experiencing elbow trouble during his exit physical last fall or his physical taken at the beginning of spring training. And the fact that it came out of the blue is one of the reasons the Royals are scrambling to decide what to do next.Moore dismissed any thought of rushing MJ Melendez, one of their top prospects, to the majors. And while high on Gallagher and Viloria, they have had a veteran backstop most of the past three years in Drew Butera. But he signed with the Phillies as a free agent last month, and the Royals struggled to lure another veteran in free agency because Perez was so entrenched behind the plate.Now, options are relatively limited until clubs begin paring down their rosters.“You have to ask, ‘What are they going to bring over the guys we currently have?'” Moore said. “We feel very confident about Gallagher and Viloria. And we’ll see how camp goes.” Masahiro Tanaka is one of the three candidates to start the New York Yankees‘ wild card game against the Oakland A’s next week.As speculation flies — among J.A. Happ, Luis Severino and Tanaka — manager Aaron Boone hasn’t let the world know who it will be. Could it depend on where the game is played? They know the opponent, but you can’t have any more difference in ballparks than the one between Yankee Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum.Tanaka, who faces the Rays in the third game of a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop Wednesday, would have almost a full week off before next Wednesday’s wild card game — and has always benefited from extra rest.Article continues below ...The Yankees used a seven-run third inning to cruise to a 9-2 victory Tuesday night — their 97th win of the season, Severino winning his 19th of the year.New York is 2 1/2 games ahead of Oakland for the AL wild-card home-field advantage after the Athletics lost 10-8 in 11 innings against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.Tanaka Carlos Carrasco Jersey
, 12-5 with a 3.67 ERA on the season, is coming off a rough start against the Red Sox in New York. He is 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA lifetime against the A’s — 1-1 with a 4.91 in two starts in Oakland.The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA against Tampa Bay this season, 8-3 with a 3.56 in 13 career starts against the Rays, 4-2 with a 4.41 at the Trop.Monday, Boone said, “I think a lot of people have read too much into how Happ is set up right now.“Happ is very much in the picture as a possibility for us and one of those good choices … but how it lines up right now isn’t by design or anything.”Ryne Stanek will be the “opener” for the Rays Wednesday, with Yonny Chirinos getting the bulk of the work in relief.Meanwhile, there were all kinds of medical updates for the Yankees, who seem to lose a player every day at the very worst time.Didi Gregorius, who suffered torn right wrist cartilage diving into home plate Saturday, continued to feel better and even took grounders — without throwing — Tuesday. He sees the doctor Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone saying, “Hopefully that goes well, and it moves thereafter, but until that happens I think we’re all kind of speculating a little bit.“(Wednesday) is a big day. It’s been exciting to hear that he seems like he’s improving every day and you see the optimism with Didi, but I think he’ll see the doctor and then he can get a bat in his hand and really test it out.”Aaron Hicks, who left Monday’s game with left hamstring tightness, had a successful MRI but will rest at least until the club goes to Boston for the weekend. Boone said, “we feel like we dodged a bullet.”More trouble: Gleyber Torres was scratched Tuesday with tightness in his groin Cliff Pennington Jersey
, expected miss just one game. “I thought it was the smart thing to do,” the manager said. “He’ll be available. I don’t think it’s a big deal. He certainly felt like he could have played, but I think it’s the right thing to do.”For the Rays, Ji-Man Choi made his debut at first base after playing exclusively as a DH and pinch hitter. But he only got as far as the third inning, leaving the game with concussion-like symptoms and an ear laceration after a collision at home plate with Gary Sanchez. Choi was bloodied and needed stitches in his ear.Before the game, the Rays announced catcher Michael Perez, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 31 with a hamstring injury, will not make it back this week after a setback.“I think Mikie, probably his season has come to an end, which is unfortunate,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Fluke play that happened. And I think we all, himself included, thought he would be back in shorter time. But for whatever reason, (that) hasn’t responded.”C.J. Cron is 3-for-6 (.500), Kevin Kiermaier 7-for-22 (.318) with a home run and Carlos Gomez 3-for-10 (.300) lifetime against Tanaka, while Matt Duffy is 1-for-7 (.143) and Mallex Smith 2-for-11 (.182).