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Royals’ Pérez catches for 1st time since Tommy John surgery.

February 28, 2020 GMT

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Salvador Pérez was back behind the plate for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

The six-time All-Star caught the first four innings of the Kansas City Royals’ 3-1 loss to a San Francisco split squad on Friday.

“I was super-excited to be back behind the home plate,” Pérez said. “I feel great. I feel good. I wasn’t nervous.”

A five-time Gold Glove winner, the 29-year-old had not caught in a game since Sept. 26, 2018.

Pérez hurt a ligament in his right elbow during drills in spring training last year, and Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Tommy John surgery on March 6.

“It was emotional,” Pérez said. “It was kind of like opening day -- once you catch the first pitch, it’s a regular game. I blocked some balls, threw to second base between innings. It was all great.”

Trevor Rosenthal struck out two in a perfect inning.

Darrin Ruf hit a two-run homer in the second off Ian Kennedy.

Jeison Guzman, who turned 21 in October, homered in the ninth.

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