Peralta picks up team at first base
Jim Leyland was asked after Thursday’s win if Jhonny Prealta had any experience at first base.
“He has now,” Leyland answered with a smile.
He has quite an experience, indeed.
And that’s the extent of his time there. Until he shifted over from third base in the eighth inning, he had never played at first base — not in the Majors, not in the minors, not ever.
“Never,” Peralta said afterwards. “Never in my life. It surprised me, too. Big surprise.”
It was a matter of the Tigers doing what they needed to do to get back into a ballgame. Starting first baseman Miguel Cabrera left in the sixth inning with bicep tendinitis in his left shoulder. Ryan Raburn pinch-hit for Don Kelly in the top of the eighth and followed Peralta’s home run with a solo shot of his own.
Brandon Inge, who pinch-hit for Brennan Boesch in the same inning, moved to third base. Raburn replaced Boesch in the outfield. Leyland told Peralta he was going to first. There wasn’t really much time for debate.
As Leyland has said before, if you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere. And Peralta turned in a critical play when he fielded a sharp grounder from Alexi Casilla in the ninth and added another big grab in the 12th.
“It’s kind of similar,” Peralta said, “but first base, I think it’s a little bit busy. You need to worry about maybe throwing it to second, short and third. But I mean, I think I can feel really good at first base, too. They gave me a couple ground balls, and I felt really good.”