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Perez looks to bounce back from 2017 injuries

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Salvador Perez caught 115 games last year, his fewest since 2012.

The five-time All-Star for the Kansas City Royals went on the disabled list for the first time since 2013, due to a strained intercostal muscle. He missed the final three games of the season because of a strained groin.

Martin Maldonado of the Los Angeles Angels was picked over him for an AL Gold Glove.

"I didn't deserve a Gold Glove last year," Perez said. "I missed too much. I was DHed a whole lot."

Perez appeared in 129 games last year overall. He injured his left knee while playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and despite injuries set career highs with 27 home runs, 80 RBIs and .495 slugging percentage.

Perez is having a strong spring training, hitting .364 with three home runs, seven RBIs and an .864 slugging percentage in his first 23 plate-appearances. He said an ideal workload for him would be 140 games or more.

"If I'm healthy, I can do 140, 145," Perez said. "That's a lot of games, but it's real for me. I did it before. I want to do it again."

The 27-year-old has no intention of changing position any time soon.

"I don't want to play first base," he said emphatically. "I'm a catcher. Maybe in seven years I play first base."

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Updated March 13, 2018

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