First the Indians, now the Tigers: Peralta’s week full of familiar faces
ST. LOUIS — Homecoming week continues Friday night for Jhonny Peralta against the teams he represented in his two All-Star appearances.
The Cardinals’ shortstop played two games in familiar surroundings in Cleveland, where he made his Major League Baseball debut on June 12, 2003. Peralta became an everyday player in 2005 and spent five full seasons with the Indians before a 2010 trade-deadline deal sent him to Detroit, St. Louis’ opponent for the weekend.
"It’s great to face my old team," Peralta said. "First with the Indians and now with the Tigers. It’s a crazy schedule, but it’s pretty good."
He hasn’t seen either team since signing a four-year, $53 million contract with the Cardinals in November 2013 after batting a career-best .303 in 107 games during his third and final season with the Tigers. Peralta says he still stays in touch with several of his old teammates, especially two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera.
A visit to Cleveland brought back some fond memories for Peralta, who still owns a house in the area. But fans weren’t so welcoming, especially when he singled in the seventh inning to break up Corey Kluber’s no-hitter on Wednesday.
"Of course, in that situation they boo me more," Peralta says with a laugh. "They’d boo everybody, but especially me more, I think. It feels good to play over there and remember the past."
But even though the 32-year-old looks forward to seeing friends and facing his old clubs, he’s doing his best to treat this series the same way he would any other, just like he did in Cleveland.
Grichuk nearing return
One of the Cardinals’ injured outfielders could be just about ready to come off the disabled list.
Manager Mike Matheny says Randal Grichuk hit a home run at the team’s extended spring training in Jupiter, Florida, and appears to be feeling good about his progress. Grichuk suffered a strained lower back while doing squats in the weight room last month and hasn’t played for St. Louis since April 16.
"We’ll just wait and get some reports later and see how he feels before we make any steps going forward," Matheny said.
Grichuk’s return could bring a quick end to a cup of coffee for Xavier Scruggs, who got called up from Triple A Memphis on Thursday when the Cardinals sent Jon Jay to the DL with tendinitis in his left wrist. Scruggs plays first base as well as both corner outfield positions and leads the Redbirds with six home runs, 18 RBIs and a .510 slugging percentage despite a .229 average in 30 games.
"I was feeling real good," said Scruggs, who joined the team in Cleveland but didn’t play in Thursday’s 2-1 win. "Average wasn’t where I wanted it but (I’m) taking good at-bats. A lot of hard-hit balls weren’t falling this past week, but just still feeling good, still producing and driving the ball."