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Drew Butera, Cam Gallagher to split catcher role with Royals

Drew Butera Cam Gallagher Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals suffered a minor setback on Wednesday. Starting catcher Salvador Perez sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. The injury happened on Tuesday night while Perez was carrying a suitcase upstairs in his home. The MCL sprain will sideline the five-time all-star between four and six weeks. The Royals will now turn to Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher to fill the catcher’s role with Peraza out.

It won’t be easy replacing a player like Salvador Perez. He’s one of the few MLB catchers that is good on both offense and defense. He won an AL Gold Glove in four straight years from 2013 to 2016. He batted .268/.297/.495 last season with 80 RBIs and 27 home runs. The Royals were in need of his above-average power after losing Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain to free agency. Let’s not forget about his fielding either. Perez has a career .994 fielding percentage and has thrown out 34 percent of base-stealers in seven MLB seasons. It’s a devastating blow to the Royals for the first month of the season, but it could have been worse.

Drew Butera is expected to start the majority of the time with Salvador Perez out. The good news is that Butera has experience on the MLB level. He caught in 74 games last year, starting in 43 of them. His numbers behind the plate were almost identical to Perez. The bad news is that Butera is a career .203 hitter and doesn’t provide much power. Just 16 home runs in 1,060 at-bats. His numbers have been slightly better with the Royals, but don’t expect much offensively.

Cam Gallagher is also expected to see some playing time. The 25-year-old shows some promise but hasn’t had much experience yet with big league pitching. In seven seasons in the minors, Gallagher is a career 244/.318/.348 hitter in the minors for the Kansas City Royals. A second-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, Gallagher is more of a defensive catcher. He has a strong arm and does well at throwing out base-stealers. Gallagher has the potential to be a solid .250 or .260 hitter with the Royals.

Losing Salvador Perez hurts even if it is for a month. The Royals were relying on┬áhis offense along with Mike Moustakas, Jon Jay, and Lucas Duda. Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield may help in that category in the right situation. What’s scary about the Perez injury though is that he’s a catcher. A knee injury may not heal as quick for a guy that puts more strain on them during games. So the Kansas┬áCity Royals may have to come up with a contingency plan if Perez has trouble after the recovery time. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.

Overall, the Royals should be fine with Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher filling in for a month or a little longer. Both are solid behind the plate and should do well enough as long as they can develop a good relationship with the pitching staff.