Tigers could use Peralta at SS; 'There was a lineup or so with him at SS, depending how the series goes'
DETROIT — You have to give something to get something.
What the Tigers are giving up get Jhonny Peralta’s bat in the lineup is defense in left field for Monday’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
Considering how windy it’s supposed to become — up to 20 mph, from right field to left — that could become an adventure for a guy who’s played less that 20 total big-league innings in the outfield in his career.
And the Tigers haven’t really gotten a good look at him out there yet.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t get much action when he played down in Miami, just a little bit. The instructional league was that he was fine. That’s a whole different scenario than up here, with a lot of shirts in the stands. It’s a different atmosphere,” manager Jim Leyland said before the game.
So we’re playing Jhonny Peralta today to get some offense. And if you’re going to do that, you have to live with what could happen defensively. I think he will be fine. Jhonny Peralta can certainly catch a fly ball. He’s got good hands and good eyes. But it’s unchartered waters for him, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
It’s certainly not the only option.
If the Tigers wanted to, they could play him at shortstop, in place of Jose Iglesias, and put either Andy Dirks or Don Kelly in left field. Or, they could get radical, and play Peralta at short, Iglesias at third (like he did when he was first acquired, before Peralta’s suspension), allowing the injured Miguel Cabrera to DH, and have Victor Martinez catch.
There are options.
Just depends on how wacky the Tigers want to get to put Peralta in the lineup.
“That would be an option during the course of the game. I’m not going to start the game that way, but we could certainly if we happen to pinch‑hit, a situation where we pinch‑hit, we could bring Jhonny Peralta in at shortstop. That would be an option,” Leyland admitted.
“We made several lineups out prior to the playoffs. There was a lineup or so with him at shortstop, depending how the series goes. Certainly we’re not playing him at shortstop today, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Adding Peralta does give the Tigers lineup a different dimension.
“It changes some. It’s not like when Dirks is in there. Donny Kelly swung the bat OK the other day. Jhonny Peralta is a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. So you have to be a little more careful with where you make your pitches to him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Whether or not he’s rusty or not based on the activity, not really sure yet. We have seen just one at-bat, but he was a significant contributor to their lineup over the course of the season, and a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. So I’m sure they feel like it makes them stronger.”