Results tagged ‘ Jhonny Peralta ’

Peralta heading to Instructional League Wednesday, likely Miami on final weekend

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.

What’s next for Tigers after Veras

Though Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Jose Veras would likely be his team’s lone move before the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, that doesn’t mean Dombrowski isn’t going to try for something else. The next goal appears to be another left-handed reliever to slot with Drew Smyly.

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported late Monday night that the Tigers are among the many teams in the mix for Giants lefty Javier Lopez. The Giants have been scouting pitchers at Double-A Erie, including right-handed starter Drew VerHagen, according to a source.

There’s also buzz among other clubs that the Tigers could make a run at one more right-handed reliever for depth. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reported Detroit is in the mix for Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. However, there’s a recent history of misguided rumors regarding Tigers interest in Cubs players (Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano among them) which, along with Gregg’s recent struggles and his 4.27 career ERA and 1.44 career WHIP in the American League (well above his NL numbers) bring the level of interest into question.

The Tigers might be able to fill a right-handed relief spot internally. Octavio Dotel has resumed throwing side sessions in Lakeland in his attempt to come back from elbow inflammation. Meanwhile, Jeremy Bonderman threw two perfect innings of relief at Triple-A Toledo on Monday, stretching his streak to seven scoreless innings on one hit in the Mud Hens bullpen.

Though other teams continue to wait for the Tigers to try to add a shortstop in anticipation of a possible Jhonny Peralta suspension, they’ve no shown sign of heavy pursuit, even with the reported availability of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar and rumors the Giants might listen to interest on veteran middle infielder Marco Scutaro. Two thoughts could be in play: First, if Peralta were to appeal any suspension, it could well push back any discipline until next year. Second, if Peralta received a suspension that would allow him to return in time for the postseason, the Tigers would have to debate just how much production they need out of shortstop to win the AL Central.

Other than those two areas, the Tigers are pretty well set.

Cabrera leads all AL players in All-Star votes

Miguel Cabrera is finally getting the respect he deserves in All-Star balloting. He not only has lapped his competition at third base on the American League ballot, he currently leads all AL players in votes.

The first balloting update, released Monday, shows how much Cabrera’s Triple Crown season in 2012 and record-setting pace in 2013 have vaulted him among the game’s biggest stars. Cabrera has 1,500,165 votes, double that of Baltimore’s Manny Machado among AL third basemen and about 265,000 more than Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano for the AL’s top vote-getter.

Cabrera’s lone All-Star start in his career came in 2010 as an injury replacement for Justin Morneau at first base. He has six other All-Star appearances as a reserve, including the last two seasons as a Tiger.

The only other Tiger in line to start as of Monday’s balloting update is Torii Hunter, third among AL outfielders with 761,937 votes. He holds a slim leads over Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, while looking up at Angels sensation Mike Trout and Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.

Prince Fielder is at serious risk of losing his starting spot at first base thanks to Chris Davis’ amazing start and a strong showing by Orioles fans at the ballot box. Though Fielder topped the million-vote mark already at 1,059,300, he trails Davis by just under 117,000 votes.

The potential snub could be at shortstop, where Jhonny Peralta’s hot start earned him just a third-place showing behind Texas’ Elvis Andrus and O’s counterpart J.J. Hardy. However, shortstop is shaping up to be one of the tightest races on the AL ballot this year, with about 187,000 votes separating Peralta from Andrus’ leading total.

Omar Infante’s quietly strong season has him ranked fourth among AL second basemen with 417,333 votes. Victor Martinez, despite his slow start, ranks fifth among designated hitters with 340,967 votes, about 675,000 behind Boston’s David Ortiz.

Peralta says he mistook clam chowder for potato soup

If you’ve ever gone to a soup and salad bar and had to look for a label to figure out what kind of chowder you were staring it, then you can probably relate to Jhonny Peralta’s downfall Monday. If not, well, maybe you’ll sympathize anyway.

Yes, Peralta said Tuesday, he ate clam chowder before Monday’s game knowing he was allergic to it. However, he said, he did not know it was clam chowder, and it wasn’t labeled.

“They had potato soup before, too,” Peralta said. “It didn’t smell [like chowder].”

Not until Peralta had consumed a half-bowl’s worth, he said, did he realize his mistake. Thankfully for his sake, his allergic reaction consisted of stomach problems and not swelling.

Peralta was back in the lineup Tuesday against the Phillies, going 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored.

The Tigers are back home Wednesday to face Florida Southern, and Peralta is sure to double-check exactly what the soup of the day is from here on out. It almost sounds like a script out of Seinfeld, but Peralta says it was an honest mistake.

“It’s good to know now,” Peralta said.

Peralta talks weight, declines comment on Bosch report

Jhonny Peralta opted to let last week’s statement from his attorney stand in regards to the SI.com report from earlier this month that his name was found in the records of Anthony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic in Miami.

“I don’t have any comment for that,” Peralta said Wednesday afternoon. “I talked to my lawyer already, and I don’t have [any] comment. We can talk about this year coming up.”

Peralta’s attorney, Barry Boss, released a statement soon after the SI.com report. The statement quoted Peralta saying, “I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.”

That was the one topic on which he declined comment. Everything else was open, including questions about his weight and his range. Peralta said he’s down to 215 pounds, compared with 227 last spring, and he could lose a few more before Opening Day.

“If I can be 210, it’s better for me,” Peralta said, “so I’m working out for that.”

The weight loss came partly at the suggestion of Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, Peralta said, and partly from himself.

“I worked [out] in the Dominican Republic,” Peralta said. “I have a strength trainer over there, and I’m working really hard this year to be how I’ve been [in the past]. I’ve lost about 20 pounds. I feel really good.”

Peralta said he also has a chef who has changed his diet. He stopped short of the cliche that he’s in the best shape of his life, but he said he’s in good enough shape that he felt a difference immediately once he started taking ground balls.

“I feel quicker,” Peralta said. “I feel lighter. Taking ground balls today in the field, I feel I’ve got a better move side to side.”

His goal is to stay at shortstop as he heads into the next phase of his career. He’ll turn 31 in May.

Tigers pick up options on Peralta, Dotel

For the first time in four years, Octavio Dotel won’t be changing teams. Neither will Jhonny Peralta, whose future in Detroit looked like it was in serious question in September.

On the day the Tigers announced their contract extension with manager Jim Leyland, they also got their lingering contract options out of the way by picking up the option years on Dotel and Peralta.

Dotel had a $3.5 million option or $500,000 buyout on the one-year deal he signed last year. He just ended his best season in at least three years, allowing 50 hits over 58 innings with 62 strikeouts while giving the Tigers a proven arm for setup situations in the seventh and eighth innings. He tossed five hitless innings over six postseason appearances, walking five and striking out six.

Dotel made it clear Sunday night after the World Series closed that he wanted to return.

Dotel’s performance over the course of the season made it a pretty easy decision. The $6 million option on Peralta for next season, on the other hand, looked a lot more complicated until the postseason.

After an All-Star season in 2011, the 30-year-old Peralta played most of 2012 like he was an older shortstop, at the plate and in the field. He batted just .218 after the All-Star break, including .171 in September, resulting in a 60-point drop in his batting average from last year. His OPS plummeted from .825 to .689. Defensively, though he generally made the plays he got to, his range and his arm seemed to suffer. The range made sense a bit with the change of third basemen from Brandon Inge to Miguel Cabrera. The occasionally soft throws were more of a mystery.

Then came the postseason.

Not only did Peralta have a boost at the plate, going 13-for-50 with three home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored, he made one rangy play after another at short. Nobody, not even Peralta, seemed to have an answer why, though some speculated that Peralta’s family situation over the summer — his wife gave birth to twins in June — weighed on his mind.

Though Stephen Drew’s addition to the free-agent market and Yunel Escobar’s move to the trade market created more possibilities for alternatives, in the end, the Tigers liked what they saw from Peralta for the money. Some have speculated the Tigers could still add a shortstop and trade Peralta, but that’s an awful lot of trouble to go through when multiple alternatives are clearly attainable and moving Peralta wouldn’t be a sure bet.

Jackson activated from DL, plus other moves

Austin Jackson’s on his way to Cincinnati after two rehab games up the road for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers, as expected, activated their center fielder from the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning. But they had more moves in store.

All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta, whose wife has been expecting with their first child, has been placed on paternity leave so that he can join her at their home in Cleveland. With just two infielders on the 40-man roster who aren’t with the big club already — and just-demoted and currently injured Ryan Raburn being the other one — the Tigers recalled second-base prospect Hernan Perez from Class A Lakeland.

The 20-year-old Perez is batting .252 (53-for-210) with two home runs, 53 RBIs and 11 stolen bases for the Flying Tigers. One would expect that he’ll be on the bench in an as-needed role while Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth handle the middle infield spots.

That said, if Perez does get into a game, he’ll become the 40th person to play for the Tigers this season.

UPDATE: To make room for Jackson, the Tigers have optioned Jose Ortega back to Toledo. That seems to be more of a statement about getting by with Justin Verlander on the mound Saturday than it is about Octavio Dotel being ready to return. The available relievers for sure are Valverde, Benoit, Below, Marte and Villarreal.

Avila is lone Tigers Silver Slugger winner

Alex Avila missed out on a Gold Glove award. He will gladly take a Silver Slugger instead. The Tigers, too, will take a win over Mike Napoli.

With a big first season as a full-time starting catcher, Avila took the mantle for the American League’s best offensive catcher from the oft-injured Joe Mauer. The All-Star beat out Napoli, Matt Wieters and others to earn the Silver Slugger award at his position, the only Tiger to do so this season.

Avila is the first Tiger to win the Silver Slugger at catcher since 2004, Ivan Rodriguez’s first season in Detroit. He’s the first catcher other than Mauer to win the honor since 2007, when Jorge Posada won it.

“To be considered the best offensive catcher is great,” Avila told MLB.com Wednesday night in a text message, “and it’s an achievement I’m very proud of.”

It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for AL managers and coaches. Though Avila earned the All-Star start at catcher on his first-half roll, and never had the huge falloff that some might have expected, he also had to deal with catchers who heated up down the stretch. None got hotter than Napoli, who hit .383 with 18 home runs and 42 RBIs after the All-Star, including .429 with eight homers in September. Though Napoli made just 57 starts behind the plate, he played there more than he did at any other position.

Wieters, who beat out Avila for the Gold Glove as announced Tuesday night, also made his case based on power. He homered 12 times in August and September and posted an .840 OPS over the season’s second half.

In the end, though, nobody showed the consistency that Avila displayed, surprisingly so for a 24-year-old dealing with the wear and tear of more starts than any other AL catcher. He actually built on his first-half numbers by hitting for a higher average, near-identical slugging percentage and a higher OPS after the break.

Avila, ironically, is a friend of Napoli.

“We’re from the same area in south Florida,” Avila said, “and he had a great season, but it doesn’t make it any better. Being a Silver Slugger is pretty good on its own.”

Tiger catchers have won 10 of the 32 Silver Sluggers since the award began in 1980. Half of those went to Lance Parrish, who added a sixth as an Angel in 1990. Rodriguez, Mickey Tettleton and Matt Nokes also won at least one Silver Slugger in a Detroit uniform.

Detroit had three other realistic candidates for Silver Sluggers, but all lost out in what looked like crowded fields and tough decisions for managers and coaches. While reigning Silver Slugger first baseman Miguel Cabrera won a batting title with a late-season tear, it came too late to sway voters to choose him over Adrian Gonzalez.

Jhonny Peralta led all AL shortstops in batting average and OPS, but his former teammate in Cleveland, Asdrubal Cabrera, had the advantage in hits, RBIs and runs scored. That earned Cabrera the vote, making him the first Indian to win a Silver Slugger since Grady Sizemore in 2008 and the first Cleveland infielder since Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar in 2000.

Though designated hitter isn’t a defensive position, it’s a Silver Slugger award, and it pitted Victor Martinez against former Red Sox teammate David Ortiz this year. Martinez had the higher batting average, finishing fourth in the league at .330, but Ortiz had better run production numbers to win his fifth Silver Slugger at DH. Those two will likely have a similar competition going when AL media members vote for the outstanding DH award.

How Peralta and Santiago nabbed Figgins

Peralta holds onto Halman's ground ball. (Getty Images)The Mariners made no secret they were going to be aggressive on the basepaths and take advantage of the Tigers napping. Brendan Ryan took second base in the series opener when the Tigers forgot to cover it after his single. Chone Figgins stretched out a double the next night when the Tigers outfield didn’t expect it.

Come the fifth inningSaturday, when Greg Halman dribbled a slow grounder to short that both Jhonny Peralta and Don Kelly tried to charge, Peralta and Ramon Santiago were thinking what Figgins was thinking.

“I was anticipating Peralta, he made a good fake,” Santiago said. “Nobody’s on third base, because Kelly and Peralta both went to get the ball. But Peralta knows he doesn’t have a chance at first, so he kind of faked, and that was the key play.”

Figgins fell for it and rounded second, leaving Peralta with a rundown to execute for the third out. It was a huge play, because it turned what would’ve been an at-bat for Ichiro with two men on into Ichiro leading off the sixth inning and having to start something. If Ichiro’s triple happens in the fifth rather than the sixth, it’s a whole different ballgame.

It was one of the better displays of awareness all season from the Tigers by a double-play combo that doesn’t get to play together very often.

“Figgins, he’s a very good baserunner. He likes to take advantage of mistakes. When you don’t pay attention to them, they take advantage.”

About that interference call

Somebody in the Comerica Park box office put it best: No matter whether the umpires ruled on the eighth-inning interference call, whether Jhonny Peralta was allowed to score or had to stay at third base, one manager was going to get thrown out of the game.

Since Peralta came home with the go-ahead run and wasn’t sent back, it was Twins manager Ron Gardenhire getting tossed. And upon further review, he might have been right to react that way.

It was a very close play from a distance that no umpire usually has to make a ruling like that. And to be fair, I can’t be sure whether crew chief Gary Darlling actually meant that the fan in the orange shirt committed the interference that was called, or whether he was one of the people who touched it after one of the fans leaning over the railing touched it. The latter makes more sense, and from the camera angles available during the game, I thought it was hard to tell. It seemed like the indication on the field was that the second fan leaning over the railing might have touched it. One would think it would’ve been easier to tell from field level.

But if it really was the fan in the orange who was the first to touch the ball, replays showed he wasn’t leaning out into the field of play to do it. He really wasn’t leaning out at all until after the ball hit the boy beside him. That’s the difference between an interference call and a ground-rule double, which is the difference between an umpire’s discretion to allow a runner coming around third to score, and an automatic two-base ruling which would’ve left Peralta at third.

“I don’t care who it hit,” Gardenhire said. “When it hits a fan in the stands, it’s a ground-rule double and you don’t score. However you want to call it, that guy doesn’t score. So it doesn’t make sense to me, and what they told me didn’t make any sense, either.”

I’ve seen people on the message boards make the case that Delmon Young paid for giving up on that play too quickly, that he was supposedly too lazy to run it down and make a play at the play plate. Sorry, but whatever the ruling, I’m not buying that. Every player I can think of on highlights like that goes for the interference signal as soon as they notice it. I’ve never heard anybody coached not to do that. The sooner the signal, the sooner the call, the better chance of getting the runner held at third. If the two sides were reversed and it’s, say, Ryan Raburn or Andy Dirks in left field and he plays through the play, he would be crucified for not making it clear that ball was interfered with.

Let’s be honest: That’s a play where, based on how the umpires rule, whichever team benefits from the call supposedly did everything right to sell it. And on the other side, somebody will use it as further evidence for expansion of replay review.

Remember all the calls that went against the Tigers last year around this time? Jim Joyce? The phantom strike three on Johnny Damon in Atlanta? Well, this one went in their favor.

A few other notes before I finish up what’s left of this holiday weekend:

  • If you thought Brad Penny was throwing a lot more curveballs than usual, you would be right. According to brooksbaseball.net, using data from MLB.com Gameday, 28 of Penny’s 105 pitches were curveballs, or about 26 percent. That’s double the percentage of curveballs from all his previous outings this season, according to fangraphs.com. Both Penny and Alex Avila said the curveball was working well and they wanted to establish it early, then it waned a bit later. By contrast, brooksbaseball.net had him with only 14 sinkers today, a lot less than he’s been throwing it lately. But fastball command probably played into that.
  • Jim Leyland talked after the game about guys needing to expand their strike zone just a bit when they get into two-strike counts in situations where they need to put the ball in play to get a run in. He said that comes with experience. Still, it’s hard to accuse Austin Jackson of not expanding his strike zone, sometimes a little too much in some situations.
  • For all that will be made of Leyland’s decision to hit Casper Wells in place of Andy Dirks, it’s very difficult to dismiss the righty-lefty idea in that situation, especially with Phil Dumatrait on the mound. Wells played with Dumatrait at Triple-A Toledo early last season. For Wells so far this season, the splits are reversed, he has actually been a little better against right-handers than left-handers, and his strikeout rate is higher against lefties.
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