Jim Leyland announced this afternoon that Jhonny Peralta will head to Instructional League on Wednesday for workouts and games. He seemingly announced a little more than that, too.
“I don’t know this to be a fact, but I assume that he’ll probably join us in Miami,” Leyland said, referring to the last series of the regular season.
That seemingly takes away the question about whether he’ll be activated when his 50-game suspension ends next Thursday. Whether he’ll be placed on the postseason roster remains a mystery, and Leyland didn’t do anything to clear that up.
“I have no idea,” Leyland said. “That’s why I don’t want to get carried away with this. I can’t give you any more than what I’ve given you. He’s working out, he’s going to Instructional League, he’s going to play, he’s going to rejoin the team I believe in Miami, and that’s all I can tell you right now.”
Leyland said Peralta will work out exclusively in the outfield in instructional ball, which clears up another question.
“I think this is just a thought process on [Dave Dombrowski’s] part, which I think is a good thought process,” Leyland said. “I’m sure it’ll be a big deal for Jhonny to get back out there. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
In other words, the momentum from the Tigers on this seems to be coming from up top.
Instructional league workouts begin Thursday. Instructional league games don’t begin until next Monday, which would give Peralta a few games to get ready before his suspension. Depending on the Tigers’ situation going into that final series, he’ll have a few games down there both to see Major League pitching and to try playing the outfield in a big-league ballpark.
Leyland isn’t sure whether that will be enough playing time to get him back to form.
“I think that’s quite a while. I think 50 games is a long time to be out, myself,” he said. “Now, the early signs are more than positive, but we’re talking about coaches’ BP. He’s swinging the bat really well in coaches’ BP. But that is a lot of games to miss and expect to come back sharp after playing just a few games, I would think. I don’t know that.
“What happens with guys like that a lot of times is they come back really good right off the bat, and then it kind of catches up with them if they haven’t played for a while. So I have no idea. But he’s sure swinging the bat good right now. The other day in Chicago, it looked like he hadn’t missed a beat.”
There’s also a difference between the level of pitching. Instructional league usually features younger pitchers, often Class A level. Veteran pitchers usually get their offseason work in winter ball.
“There’s a world of difference between instructional league pitching and Triple-A pitching,” Leyland said.
Hard to believe when you look at the stats, but through all the damage, Joe Saunders has still managed to hold left-handed hitters to a .220 average and .357 slugging percentage this year, while racking up more strikeouts (35) than hits allowed. That means right-handed batters have hit him hard, batting .341 with a .964 OPS.
With that in mind, Matt Tuiasosopo gets his first start (and first meaningful at-bats) since Sept. 3. He hasn’t appeared in a game of any sort since getting an at-bat in the 16-2 rout of the Royals in Kansas City Sept. 6. Nick Castellanos had picked up the starts in left field since then.
The Mariners have seven left-handed batters or switch-hitters in the lineup against Rick Porcello, whose numbers against those hitters had been worsening since the All-Star break until his complete-game win against the White Sox last week.
TIGERS (career numbers off Saunders)
- Austin Jackson, CF (0-for-4, walk, 2 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (3-for-6, K)
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (5-for-15, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Prince Fielder, 1B (0-for-6, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (4-for-15, 2 K’s)
- Omar Infante, 2B (6-for-14)
- Matt Tuiasosopo, LF (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
- Alex Avila, C
- Jose Iglesias, SS (2-for-5, K)
P: Rick Porcello
MARINERS (career numbers off Porcello)
- Dustin Ackley, CF (1-for-3)
- Abraham Almonte, RF
- Kyle Seager, 3B
- Kendrys Morales, DH (3-for-13, walk, 3 K’s)
- Raul Ibanez, LF (0-for-6)
- Justin Smoak, 1B (2-for-8, HR, walk, K)
- Mike Zunino, C
- Nick Franklin, 2B
- Carlos Triunfel, SS
P: Joe Saunders
Day off for Jose Iglesias. Ramon Santiago starts in his place.
TIGERS (career numbers off Guthrie)
- Austin Jackson, CF (4-for-23, HR, walk, 8 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (12-for-36, 3 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (12-for-36, 3 HR, 5 walks, 7 K’s)
- Prince Fielder, 1B (8-for-19, HR, 2 walks)
- Victor Martinez, DH (7-for-23, 2 walks, K)
- Andy Dirks, LF (9-for-20, 2 K’s)
- Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-13, HR)
- Alex Avila, C (5-for-19, HR, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Ramon Santiago, SS (3-for-13, K)
P: Max Scherzer
ROYALS (career numbers off Scherzer)
- Alex Gordon, LF (9-for-25, HR, 7 walks, 4 K’s)
- Emilio Bonifacio, 2B (4-for-8, walk, 2 K’s)
- Eric Hosmer, 1B (5-for-22, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
- Billy Butler, DH (12-for-44, 2 walks, 7 K’s)
- Salvador Perez, C (6-for-15, 2 HR)
- Mike Moustakas, 3B (2-for-20, 6 K’s)
- Lorenzo Cain, RF (0-for-6, 2 K’s)
- Jarrod Dyson, CF (1-for-11, 2 K’s)
- Alcides Escobar, SS (7-for-27, 2 HR, 5 K’s)
P: Jeremy Guthrie
Some fairly bad numbers for Tigers hitters against Ervin Santana, who tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings on two hits against them July 19 back in Kansas City. He has been alternating decent starts with bad ones for the better part of a month now, so we’ll see which Santana shows up.
Prince Fielder is the major exception to the numbers against Santana. Even after going 0-for-3 against him in July, he’s still 6-for-13 with three home runs off the former Angel.
Reminder: Tonight’s game is on MLB Network for those of you outside of Michigan and northwest Ohio. As others have pointed out, it’s also the Free Game of the Night on MLB.TV, so if you don’t get the network, you can still get the game.
TIGERS (career numbers off Santana)
- Austin Jackson, CF (1-for-14, 3 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (3-for-9, walk, 2 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (4-for-19, HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
- Prince Fielder, 1B (6-for-13, 3 HR, 2 walks, K)
- Victor Martinez, DH (6-for-19, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
- Andy Dirks, LF (2-for-7, walk, 2 K’s)
- Omar Infante, 2B (1-for-6, walk, 3 K’s)
- Alex Avila, C (1-for-6, HR, walk)
- Jose Iglesias, SS
P: Doug Fister
ROYALS (career numbers against Doug Fister)
- Alex Gordon, LF (7-for-30, 7 K’s)
- Emilio Bonifacio, 2B (3-for-13, walk)
- Eric Hosmer, 1B (6-for-19, HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
- Billy Butler, DH (11-for-33, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
- Salvador Perez, C (5-for-21, 2 K’s)
- Mike Moustakas, 3B (7-for-22, HR, 7 K’s)
- Lorenzo Cain, RF (3-for-9, K)
- Jarrod Dyson, CF (3-for-11, 2 K’s)
- Alcides Escobar, SS (9-for-30, HR, walk, 5 K’s)
P: Ervin Santana
The Tigers announced today they sent right-hander David Paulino to Houston as the player to be named later in the Jose Veras trade from July. The 19-year-old Dominican is the younger brother of highly-touted Tigers pitching prospect Brenny Paulino.
Like his brother, David Paulino has a big arm but has had to work through injuries, culminating with Tommy John surgery this summer. He was off to a solid start in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts and striking out 22 batters over 20 innings. He had been hitting 97 mph with his fastball according to scouting reports.
It’s a high-risk, high-reward pickup for the Astros, who received outfield prospect Danry Vasquez from the Tigers when the trade was announced July 29.
Yup, it’s that time again. The first round of postseason tickets go on sale Tuesday at noon. Like last year, they’ll be available online at tigers.com and by phone at 866-66-TIGER. They won’t be available in person at the Comerica Park box office.
The Tigers are currently neck-and-neck with Oakland for the second-best record in the American League. The top two seeds, currently Boston and Oakland, will have home-field advantage for the best-of-5 Division Series, which this year returns to a 2-2-1 format for home-and-road games. The schedule was released last week:
- Game 1: Friday, Oct. 4 (TBS or MLB Network)
- Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 5 (TBS)
- Game 3: Monday, Oct. 7 (TBS or MLB Network)
- Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 8 (TBS)
- Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 10 (TBS)
If the Tigers get one of the top two seeds, they’ll host Games 1, 2 and 5. If they have the worst record of the three division winners, they’ll host Games 3 and 4.
For Division Series tickets, there’s a limit of six tickets per order, per game. More information is available at tigers.com/postseason. As in past Octobers, fans who place a deposit on full season tickets for next season will be guaranteed an opportunity to buy tickets for all postseason games for this year.
It was an interesting question whether Jim Leyland would make any lineup changes this time around against Bruce Chen, who held the Tigers to five hits (one each by five different hitters) over seven innings Sunday in Kansas City. The Tigers roughed up Chen on August 18 with much the same lineup, the one key difference being Brayan Pena at catcher. Tonight features the same lineup as Sunday, including Avila behind the plate.
TIGERS (career numbers off Chen)
- Austin Jackson, CF (11-for-37, HR, 3 walks, 7 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (5-for-22, HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (15-for-37, 5 HR, 9 walks, 6 K’s)
- Prince Fielder, 1B (5-for-19, HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (3-for-10, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
- Andy Dirks, LF (6-for-20, 2 K’s)
- Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-19, 6 K’s)
- Alex Avila, C (2-for-10, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (2-for-4, HR)
P: Justin Verlander
ROYALS (career numbers off Verlander)
- Alex Gordon, LF (13-for-63, 2 HR, 7 walks, 23 K’s)
- Emilio Bonifacio, 2B (3-for-5, walk, K)
- Eric Hosmer, 1B (8-for-36, HR, 4 walks, 8 K’s)
- Billy Butler, DH (28-for-65, 2 HR, 8 walks, 9 K’s)
- Salvador Perez, C (6-for-18, HR, 3 K’s)
- Mike Moustakas, 3B (6-for-30, HR, walk, 6 K’s)
- David Lough, RF (2-for-9, 2 K’s)
- Alcides Escobar, SS (7-for-37, walk, 4 K’s)
- Jarrod Dyson, CF (3-for-14, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
P: Bruce Chen
Jhonny Peralta returned to the Tigers on Wednesday to begin working out on the field for the first time since his suspension began six weeks ago. He also began working out some of the lingering questions that he couldn’t, or didn’t, answer while Major League Baseball’s investigation into his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
He apologized again for the mistake he made getting involved with performance-enhancing drugs before Spring Training in 2012. In so doing, he hoped for some understanding, though he wisely hesitated to use the word forgiveness.
“I think I say what I say before. I apologize to everybody,” he said. “I think everybody understands. We make mistakes sometimes. We’re human. It’s happened to a lot of people.”
He also admitted times over the past month and a half that he was angry about his decision. He’s still angry now.
“Right now, what happened before, I’m angry with myself,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it, the situation that happened, but I’m kind of mad at myself.”
Asked how much the investigation weighed on his mind as the season unfolded, he offered a little insight into why he only took baseball questions for the most part when interviewed all summer. More than fear of saying something that would come back to haunt him, he was trying to block it out.
“That was kind of tough,” he said, “but I tried to be positive every day in the field, tried to show up for the guys and my team. I tried to win the game every day. I tried to [be around] the guys like nothing happened. I mean, it’s kind of hard for me, but I tried to stay concentrated on the game every day, day by day. I think I did pretty good, how I played the game.”
More from Peralta …
- If he’s nervous about teammates’ reaction: “No. I know every guy on the team. I know the first step that I make into the clubhouse, I know they’re going to be happy. Every guy in the clubhouse, they’re really friendly. I think when we’re together, we’re like brothers, so I know they’re going to be happy.”
- On how he’ll be received by Tigers fans: “I think the Tigers fans, they know what’s going on. They already know what happened with everything. I think for what I do in Detroit, I think the fans are going to be OK. I think they apprciated what I did before and everything and tried to back the team. I think the fans in Detroit will be the fans.”
- On what he did after the suspension: “I think I take like a week in Cleveland. After that I go back to the Dominican and tried to work out every day. I know in the Dominican I can have time to work out every day.”
- On getting over feelings of regret: “It’s already happened, whatever happened. I tried to forget about the past. I tried to move forward now. I know it’s a little hard, what happened before, but I tried to be positive to try to enjoy the game when I come back here.”
As expected, Jhonny Peralta was a very early arrival to U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday to begin working out with the Tigers again. The surprise was more where he was working out. That’s him taking fly balls in left field under the watch of manager Jim Leyland and coach Tom Brookens.
Not sure how much the Tigers will talk about this today, but with offense clearly a recent issue against lefties, and left field being one position they can upgrade, it’s clearly something they can consider.
As we wait to see what Jhonny Peralta has to say at U.S. Cellular Field this afternoon, both to his Tigers teammates and to the media, it’s worth noting that Peralta has made one major change heading into free agency: His agents. He’s the latest client of ACES to change his representation, hiring Diego Bentz of SFX. It’s believed the change was made in the last month or so after Peralta was suspended.
ACES, headed up by Sam and Seth Levinson, negotiated Peralta’s current deal with the Tigers before the 2011 season. But the agency has also been heavily mixed in with the Biogenesis investigation, having had several clients involved, including Nelson Cruz (who has also changed agents) and Jordany Valdespin. Juan Carlos Nunez, a central figure in the investigation, was a contractor paid as a consultant of ACES at one time.
Bentz represents another Tigers infielder and former ACES client, Ramon Santiago.
UPDATE: ACES forwarded a statement on Peralta’s move, which included a reason given on the move:
“ACES takes great pride in standing by our players during difficult times in their lives. Thankfully, the darkest chapter in Jhonny’s professional career has concluded. We wish him the best in all that he does moving forward, and fully understand that Jhonny is more comfortable with a Latin agent. ACES is proud to represent great players who are quality people for over three decades and we will continue to defend and assert our players’ rights under the rules of the game.”
The MLB Players Association investigated ACES last year, according to USA Today. The agency was reprimanded, but the investigation found no evidence linking the agents to Biogenesis.