Suspended Peralta working out in left field; Leyland: 'He's doing OK ... I mean, we know he can catch a fly ball'
The Tigers have not yet said whether or not they’ll bring back the suspended Jhonny Peralta for the last few games of the regular season, nor if they’d consider him for a spot on the postseason roster, should they make it.
But they’re giving him a chance to prove his worth.
Peralta rejoined the team last week to work out, and has taken fly balls in left field — one of the only places where there might be a role he could fill, as a platoon bat with lefty Andy Dirks. The Tigers are set at shortstop now, with trade acquisition Jose Iglesias, as well as at third base, with Miguel Cabrera.
“Well, he goes out with Brookie,” manager Jim Leyland said of Peralta’s sessions with Tom Brookens, who tutors the outfielders.
“We have had him there early about three times, and we have worked him out some in left field.
“And he’s doing OK.”
Peralta has never spent any game time in the outfield as a professional, so it’s hard to gauge how well he’d do in that situation, particularly if he’s just shagging flies in batting practice.
“You never really know. You can’t really simulate game stuff, you know. We might try to get him out there if we hit a little extra early on, and take balls live off the bat. Because that’s the only way you can ... I mean, we know he can catch a fly ball. But getting it off the bat with the ball sinking or sailing, or carrying over your head, or something, you never know how that’s going to work,” Leyland said.
“So that’s what we’ve been doing. ... We’ll see.”
Peralta’s suspension is due to expire Sept. 27, with three games to go in the regular season. Before then, he’ll head to the Tigers’ instructional league, where he can get some game action, according to the plan laid out by general manager Dave Dombrowksi. Instructionals start Monday, Sept. 23.
Until then, he can work out with the team before games, but only before the gates open an hour and a half before first pitch.