Salvy symptom-free, returns to light workouts
Royals catcher hoping to return as soon as Sunday after further tests
KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez showed up symptom-free at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday and ready for a light workout.
Perez was placed on the seven-day disabled list after being hit in the mask with a foul tip during Saturday night's game against the Mets. He was diagnosed with a low-grade concussion. Manager Ned Yost said Perez would be reevaluated after a 15-minute stationery bike workout.
"You exercise in steps, he'll get through the first one today and we'll see where he's at," Yost said. "Everything is moving in a positive direction."
Perez said he expects to return in minimal time, but there are more tests to be done.
"I think Sunday or Monday, I'll be back, that's what I think, but we have to wait, we have to go day by day," Perez said.
Perez also said he was considering switching to a hockey-style mask that would be more protective of his chin where he was hit two other times leading up to Saturday's injury.
Hayes makes first start for KC; Lough returns
KANSAS CITY -- While southpaw Danny Duffy made his first Major League start of the season on Wednesday night against the Twins, he had a familiar face behind the plate in Brett Hayes, who also made his first start for the Royals.
Hayes, who caught the majority of Duffy's 10 appearances and eight starts while at Triple-A Omaha and was called up on Sunday, went 2-for-4 with a double in his first at-bat and a run scored in the Royals' 5-2 win.
"Brett knows what to look for, he knows when [Duffy's] getting a little too excited, when to calm him down, when to pump him up. He knows the quality of his pitches because he's used to them," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It just works out better that way."
Duffy was 3-0 with a 4.21 ERA for Omaha and 0-2 with a 3.94 ERA with Double-A Northwest Arkansas as he made the long trip back from Tommy John surgery last summer.
"Duffy's been doing an excellent job down there it Triple-A coming off surgery," Hayes said. "His biggest thing is just getting ahead and staying in the strike zone. When he does that, he is tough to hit."
Hayes, who appeared in 143 games with the Marlins from 2009-12, batted .231 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games with Omaha. He batted eighth Wednesday against the Twins.
"I'm looking forward to it, going out there and getting to play here, it's going to be fun," Hayes said.
Outfielder David Lough returned to the lineup in the leadoff spot on Wednesday -- going 1-for-4 -- after leaving Sunday's game with right quadriceps tightness. He was 8-for-26 on the last road trip with a .500 slugging percentage.
Smith optioned with Duffy's arrival to Royals
KANSAS CITY -- With lefty Danny Duffy promoted for Wednesday's series finale, the Royals optioned left-handed reliever Will Smith to Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding roster move.
Smith pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to the Twins -- his only appearance in his most recent Major League stint.
"He was the obvious candidate before which is why we had him throw three," Yost said. "We don't have a lot of versatility in terms of roster flexibility in the 'pen, but Will did a great job yesterday and he is going to be back."
Right-hander Felipe Paulino is set to restart rehabilitation from last summer's Tommy John surgery after recovering from shoulder and back stiffness that ended his earlier rehab campaign. He will start for Omaha on Thursday. Duffy had his surgery on June 13, 2012, and Paulino followed suit on July 3.
Maxwell happy to be in race with Kansas City
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Justin Maxwell is adjusting quickly to life with the Royals.
Maxwell joined the team on the road in Minnesota after being acquired in a trade with the Astros at the Deadline on July 31 -- hitting a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 12th inning three days later against the Mets. Through five games with the Royals entering Wednesday, he is 4-for-9 with three runs and three RBIs.
"The trade was unexpected -- I'm a big baseball fan so I follow every league and every division race -- so once I found out I was going to the Royals and we are in the race and trying to make the playoffs, I got even more excited," Maxwell said.
Big entrances have become a habit with Maxwell, who hit a pinch-hit grand slam for his first Major League hit with Washington in 2007 and a pinch-hit homer in his first plate appearance with Houston.
"I think that has to do with coming up in the National League," Maxwell said. "I had the chance to get called up with the Nationals for my first team so I know how to come off the bench and be ready. I know all the double-switches and stuff so when I had that pinch-hit homer, I almost came in the game three different times on double-switches. I know in this game you can't take any days off. It could come down to you and the opposing pitcher to win the game and you always want to give your team your best effort."
Maxwell is batting a combined .253 with 37 hits, 24 runs and 13 RBIs for the Astros and Royals this season. He missed time with the Astros due to a broken hand and then battled food poisoning when he was rehabbing with Double-A Corpus Christi for his hand injury. Maxwell also had a concussion, but said he's feeling healthy now.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.