It wasn’t part of the plan, but Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas did a little scouting while playing winter ball in Venezuela this off-season.
OK, maybe not scouting exactly, but Moustakas got to see catcher Salvador Perez play first base.
The Royals teammates faced off a few times in Venezuela. Moustakas was with Cardenales de Lara, while Perez played for Tiburones de La Guaira and got some work at first base.
OK, Moose, how did Perez look at first base? That question drew a smile from Moustakas.
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“Uhhhhh,” Moustakas hemmed and hawed, while looking over his shoulder at Perez during FanFest. “I wouldn’t say he’d be winning a Gold Glove or anything.
“It’s amazing. For as good of a defensive catcher as he is and how amazing he can catch pop-ups and make plays out there, he can’t catch a pop-up to save his life at first base. It’s crazy.”
Perez, who won a Gold Glove at catcher last season, may not be a natural first baseman, but Moustakas said his teammate’s sense of humor was still All-Star caliber.
“I got over there on first with him and he was pulling my jersey out and pushing me off the base,” Moustakas said. “I was like, ‘Dude, this is a game.’ And he was like, ‘No, this is how we play, poppy, this is how we play.’ “
Moustakas’ response to that: “Alright dude.”
Blair Kerkhoff had a nice story on Moustakas’ off-season work in Venezuela with hitting coach Pedro Grifol, but there were some unforseen hiccups off the field.
“Ordering food there was crazy,” Moustakas said. “I just don’t know how to speak Spanish.”
Couldn’t you just point to what you wanted?
“Yeah, point and then you get something you don’t want,” Moustakas said.
That drew a chuckle from a clutch of reporters, but honestly, Moustakas said, he gained insight into what his teammates from that part of the world face here.
“Going out there is a very humbling experience, very humbling,” Moustakas said. “I went to Cuba, I went to Dominican (Republic), Puerto Rico, and going to Venezuela now, it’s just real, real humbling seeing where these guys all came from and where they’re at now. It’s very humbling.”