Salvy looks strong in return, Franco hits grand slam in Royals’ intrasquad game

Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who missed the start of summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19, returned to the field Tuesday and participated in an intrasquad game.
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The Kansas City Royals continued ramping up toward the shortened 2020 season Tuesday night, holding another intrasquad game at Kauffman Stadium — but this one had a twist.

This intrasquad game placed a greater emphasis on preparation and evaluation than usual. Rather than following a traditional nine-inning format, the Royals went through 13 scripted “rotations,” each of which featured different pitchers, hitters and defensive players in an effort to evaluate as many players in as many different situations as possible.

The most notable news from Tuesday’s scrimmage was the return of six-time All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who was activated from the injured list and participated in his first summer workout after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to the start of camp.

Perez clearly didn’t need much time to get up to speed. He participated in Tuesday night’s intrasquad game and collected two singles, including one that drove in a run.

Royals hitters flashed plenty of power during the scrimmage. Third baseman Maikel Franco, first baseman/outfielder Ryan McBroom and first base prospect Nick Pratto all went deep.

Infielder Bobby Witt Jr., the team’s top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, continued his red-hot camp, coming up with a base hit off reliever Kevin McCarthy.

Outfielder Bubba Starling also had another strong night in what’s been an exceptional camp, driving a double to the outfield wall.

Jakob Junis, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, Greg Holland, Austin Cox, Richard Lovelady, McCarthy, Glenn Sparkman, Tim Hill and Tyler Zuber were among the pitchers to see action. Bubic, the Royals’ competitive-balance pick in 2018, drew particularly rave reviews for his performance over two rotations.

Left-hander Danny Duffy, who was named the Royals’ Opening Day starter on Tuesday, met with the media over Zoom during Tuesday’s workout and expressed optimism that the unique format of the 2020 season will play into Kansas City’s favor.

Duffy also raved about many of the Royals’ top prospects, going so far as to call Witt Jr. “the best hitter of all time.” Witt had two of the three hits Duffy allowed during Monday night’s intrasquad game.