Age seems to finally be catching up to Jhonny Peralta. He missed the first 57 games of the year to rehab thumb surgery, then missed another 16 in July after incurring another thumb injury. As a result, Peralta played in fewer than 100 games (82) for the first time since 2004 and his offense declined nearly across the board. He owned an atrocious .182 batting average against left-handed pitching, marking the third straight year that his clip against southpaws regressed, suggesting he might be developing reverse splits. Peralta played a lot of shortstop in recent seasons but is unlikely to do so in 2017 due to the sudden rise of Aledmys Diaz. Meanwhile, Jedd Gyorko figures to at least split time with Peralta at third base, and Matt Carpenter could see time there too, as there are a lot of interchangeable pieces in the St. Louis infield. Perhaps some combination of platoon work, a healthy hand and improved performance will open up several starts per week, but Peralta's path to everyday duty relies heavily on managerial decisions and, unfortunately, injuries.
Peralta (knee) could return to the Cardinals' Grapefruit League lineup as soon as Monday, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. The Cardinals will hold Peralta out Sunday while he contends with a sore knee, which he sustained Saturday after fouling a pitch off his knee. It doesn't appear that Peralta's injury is considered significant, so if he's able to get back on the field Monday, it would help his chances of beating out Jedd Gyorko for the regular starting job at third base to open the season.
An X-ray on Peralta's left knee came back negative Saturday and he does not expect to miss time, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. He left Saturday's Grapefruit League game after fouling a pitch off his knee, and while he is sore, he appears to have avoided a fracture or serious contusion. Peralta is in the midst of a competition with Jedd Gyorko for the starting job at third base. The runner-up figures to get two or three starts each week in a utility role.
Peralta left Saturday's Grapefruit League game after fouling a pitch of his knee, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Peralta stepped back into the box following the incident, flying out to right field. Kolten Wong then replaced him on defense. The move may have been precautionary with Opening Day looming, but further evaluation should confirm the extent.
Peralta could be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter at third base, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel reports. While manager Mike Matheny commended Peralta's defensive actions at third base and was excited to see the strength back in his swing, he was not interested in declaring whether Peralta or Jedd Gyorko would start at the hot corner on Opening Day, but Hummel suspects it will be Peralta. His .685 OPS in 35 at-bats this spring does not inspire much confidence, but the team likes what it is seeing after Peralta dealt with a torn thumb ligament last season. He is coming to grips with the fact that his career as a regular shortstop is likely over, and is aware that with the move to third base, more pressure will be put on his bat. Matt Carpenter and Aledmys Diaz figure to play almost every day, but the deployment of Peralta, Gyorko, Kolten Wong, and Matt Adams should be a source of great frustration for fantasy owners this season.
Peralta went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in Monday's 6-3 Grapefruit League win over the Astros. The veteran continues battling Jedd Gyorko for the starting third base job after being displaced from his long-time shorstop role by Aledmys Diaz's stellar 2016 rookie season. The battle appears to be fairly even at present, as Peralta's six RBI tie him for third on the team with Matt Adams and Paul DeJong. However, Gyorko has the better batting average at .304 and also launched his first homer of spring Monday. A platoon scenario may ultimately develop at the hot corner, with manager Mike Matheny also having the option of occasionally deploying Gyorko at second as he did Monday, allowing both players to start.