Salvador Perez
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Report: Salvador Pérez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Tommy John surgery has been recommended to Royals catcher Salvador Pérez, who will undergo the surgery sometime in the following week. As noted earlier today, Pérez sustained an ulnar collateral ligament injury in his right elbow while working out with the team on Wednesday, though the extent of the damage and the length of Pérez’s recovery process had yet to be revealed.

It’s a huge blow for the 28-year-old catcher, who won’t be cleared to play again until the 2020 season. Pérez has been a mainstay of the Royals’ roster for the past six years after catching a cumulative 761 games behind the plate and turning in six consecutive All-Star performances. In 2018, he shared catching duties with Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher while rehabbing a freak knee injury, and finished the season batting .235/.274/.439 with 27 home runs, a .713 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through 544 plate appearances.

The Royals have yet to confirm news of Pérez’s surgery, and it’s still possible that the catcher may elect non-surgical rehab after receiving a second opinion. According to comments made by manager Ned Yost on Friday, any final decision will likely be put off until Wednesday. That’s when Pérez is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles, presumably to discuss the matter with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

In the event that Pérez’s 2019 season is indeed lost to injury — something Yost and club trainer Nick Kenney classified as ligament “damage,” rather than a more serious tear — Heyman adds that the club may have a replacement lined up in free agent backstop Martín Maldonado, with whom they’ve allegedly already had contact this offseason.

Update, 3/2: Both Moore and Kenney contradicted Friday’s report, telling reporters Saturday that “there has been no recommendation of surgery” (via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). Even without surgery, however, it looks like the club will still be taking every precaution with their All-Star catcher and leaning on the tandem talents of Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria until Pérez is back to 100 percent.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.