Leyland comments on Peralta’s 50-game suspension

Tigers manager Jim Leyland finally commented on shortstop Jhonny
Peralta’s 50-game suspension.

And in true Leyland fashion, his remarks were to the point.

”I will say we will miss Jhonny Peralta and that’s the end of
it,” Leyland said before Detroit’s game against the Cleveland
Indians on Tuesday night. ”I’m not going to discuss it any
further. I do owe you that comment, I think.”

Shortly after Peralta was banned 50 games by Major League
Baseball for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal on Monday,
Leyland told reporters to leave his office after he was asked to
comment on Peralta’s suspension. General manager Dave Dombrowski
had told media members he would be the team’s lone spokesman on the
matter.

Leyland said he wasn’t comfortable addressing Peralta’s complex
situation. The two-time All-Star was one of 13 players disciplined
in baseball’s most sweeping punishment in nearly a century.

”I was not going to make comments on stuff,” a relaxed Leyland
said, sitting at his desk holding a bat before batting practice.
”You’re talking about legal issues and everything else. That’s
silly for somebody like me to be making comments about that. I’m
not going to do it. I’m not going to get trapped into that.”

Leyland felt it was best to leave the Tigers’ comments on the
matter to Dombrowski, who spent 10 minutes addressing the situation
in Detroit’s dugout before Monday’s series opener. Leyland thought
it was disrespectful that he was asked about Peralta after media
members were informed he would only talk about on-field issues.

”We tried to have one spokesman and we tried to eliminate as
much bombardment of the players as we could because we are here to
play a game,” Leyland said. ”That’s why Dave was the spokesman
and that’s why we weren’t going to get into any discussions about
that in here. It’s also a no-win situation to start talking about
that.

”Some managers have made comments about it. I choose not to
because I don’t think that’s my place. Nothing good could come out
it in here because you don’t know details. You don’t know facts.
You don’t want to start popping off because you don’t know what
you’re talking about, particularly when it’s something of that
magnitude.”

Leyland is confident that his Tigers, who have won nine straight
and have a four-game lead over second-place Cleveland entering
Tuesday’s game, will remain driven and won’t be distracted by
Peralta’s absence.

”They did a great job of maintaining their focus pretty good on
an uncomfortable day for you and me and the players and everybody
else,” Leyland said. ”They did a terrific job of keeping their
focus on the task at hand because it was not a fun day, obviously,
for baseball.”