SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There could be an American League Central matchup in the works for this season that would capture a lot of attention in Valencia, Venezuela. That's the hometown of Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Detroit pitcher Bruce Rondon, a candidate to be the Tigers' closer.
"I know him from Valencia, my city. We played in the Little League together, for different teams when we were about 12 to 14 years old," Perez said.
Rondon is listed as 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds and he's reputed to have a fastball at 100 mph-plus.
"I remember he pitched and he threw hard. Not good command, but he threw hard," Perez said. "But he was just 12 years old and now he's better. He played winter ball this year in Venezuela and he threw really good."
Rondon, 22, was a Venezuelan Winter League teammate of Royals outfielder Endy Chavez, another product of Valencia.
"He can throw hard and he's got pretty good talent. He's a big guy, he can throw strikes, got a pretty good split and he's a good kid, too," Chavez said.
The word is that Rondon's velocity can reach 102 or 103 mph.
"A hundred and four sometimes," Perez said. "He throws like Kelvin Herrera."
Perez, who played a limited schedule in Venezuela, didn't face Rondon over the winter but might this summer.
"I'll be looking for the fastball," Perez said.
Perez, Cuthbert homer in intrasquad game
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There was no winner or loser in the first game at Royals camp. The USA and the World teams played to a 6 1/2-inning, 5-5 tie in an intrasquad game on Tuesday.
Catcher Salvador Perez hit a solo home run in his only at-bat and Minor League third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert belted a two-run homer, both for the World team.
Cuthbert, the ninth-ranked prospect in MLB.com's Top 20 Royals Prospects, connected against left-hander Chris Dwyer after Christian Colon singled to start the fourth inning.
Colon, ranked 10th among Royals prospects, also delivered a two-run single off right-hander Blaine Boyer in the fifth inning to make it 5-5.
"Very good clutch hit with two outs," bench coach Chino Cadahia said. "Those are hard to come by and he came through."
And, in the sixth, Colon made a diving stop at shortstop and got a force out to deprive David Lough of a hit.
"Miguel Tejada has been giving me a few tips, taking me out there and how to set up pre-pitch and get to a lot of balls that are kind of off," Colon said. "For me, I need to be able to get some range at short, so he just told me to set up differently. I tried it and I was able to get to that ball and make the play."
The USA team had eight hits, including doubles by Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer that produced a first-inning run off left-hander Bruce Chen. The World's seven hits included Perez's leadoff home run against lefty Tim Collins in the second inning and a double by Willy Taveras.
"I'm kind of surprised that the hitters did so well," Cadahia said. "It's kind of early and I always expect the hitters to be a little behind this time of year, but they came out swinging the bats pretty good."
"They swung the bats and had a lot of ground balls that got through, but that's Arizona for you," pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "It's kind of what I expected because it was the first game action and they're leaving the rubber a little bit early because they're a little excited. But that's why you do these things, so they can get their feet underneath them and get the jitters out early, especially these young kids because, for the most part, that's who pitched today."
Each pitcher worked one inning and USA starter Nate Adcock pitched a perfect first, getting three ground-ball outs.
"He's a sinker guy and he kept the ball down, so we were pleased to see that," Eiland said.
World pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Noel Arguelles each pitched one perfect inning. Luis Mendoza was touched for three singles and three runs by USA but a missed bouncer by second baseman Irving Falu let in the last two runs.
USA second baseman Johnny Giavotella, battling Chris Getz for the starting job, made a diving stop of Yem Prades' ground ball.
"We played a pretty good game. We had a lot of fun and it was good for this time of year," Cadahia said.
Yost leaves camp for unspecified reason
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost was called away from camp on Tuesday and was absent when the team's first intrasquad game ended.
Team officials gave no reason for Yost's departure. The Royals have a second intrasquad game scheduled for Wednesday and Yost is expected back for that.
The starting pitchers are scheduled to be Luke Hochevar and John Lamb. Closer Greg Holland and reliever Aaron Crow are also on the list.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.