Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, who's presently serving a 50-game suspension for his ties to the Biogenesis scandal, is eligible to return to the Detroit active roster before the end of the regular season. However, when he does come back it likely won't be as a shortstop, his primary position for most of his career. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Peralta on Wednesday will report to the Tigers' Instructional League and begin a transition to left field.
Peralta has never played the outfield in his 11-year major-league career, but the Tigers are obviously confident enough that he has the instincts and skills to make the transition despite his having very little time for a learning curve. Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to say whether Peralta would be part of Detroit's postseason roster, but it seems highly likely that he will be.
It's easy to understand why the Tigers are eyeing such a position switch, as their left fielders this season -- Andy Dirks, primarily -- have combined to hit just .263/.329/.389. Peralta, 31, has a slash line of .305/.361/.461 this season.
It remains to be seen whether Peralta can take to the position and whether he'll resume hitting at that previous level. Perhaps, rather than immediate regular duty, the right-handed-hitting Peralta will form a platoon with Dirks, who for his career is batting .281/.334/.420 against the opposite side. As well, Peralta could obviously still provide infield depth.