Brewers' Peralta looking to carry late '16 success into 2017

February 14, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) Wily Peralta, Milwaukee's opening day starter last season, is just hoping to crack the rotation in 2017.

The 27-year-old right-hander was 4-7 with a 6.68 ERA through his first 13 starts and allowed a major league-high 97 hits over 66 innings. Milwaukee demoted him to Triple-A Colorado Springs in June.

''It wasn't easy last year, having to go down,'' Peralta said Tuesday as the Brewers reported for spring training.

''I was struggling with my timing and mechanics,'' he said. ''Being down there, being able to relax and work through what I had to work through . It's got me excited for this year.''

Brought back up in August, Peralta had a 2.95 ERA and 51 strikeouts over his final 10 big league starts. Batters hit nearly .350 against him over his first 13 starts but only .241 in the final two months. Milwaukee hopes he can return to his form in 2014, when he went 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA.

Taylor Jungmann, who spent time in Colorado Springs last season dealing with his own struggles, said Peralta's resurgence speaks to the ''mental side of his game.''

''Seeing him come back and do what he did in September was really impressive,'' Jungmann said, adding that being sent down to the minors can be ''dark days,'' depending on the person.

''You can get worse and worse and worse, or you can take it as motivation like Wily did, and really grow from it, learn your mechanics and learn how to fix things on your own,'' Jungmann said.

Now with his focus on 2017, Peralta aims to learn from his mistakes, especially now that he's the second-longest tenured Brewer in the clubhouse behind only Ryan Braun.

''I'm feeling good, feel healthy. ... I pitched a little bit of winter ball this year, and I think it will help me stay on track this season,'' Peralta said.

Second-year skipper Craig Counsell said last month that his starting rotation has plenty of question marks.

''We've kind of purposely gone into spring with some depth and that's a really comfortable place to be for the organization,'' Counsell said. ''At some point we're going to have to make some decisions there.''

Peralta reiterated that being named opening day starter April 3 when the Brewers take on the Colorado Rockies is not his goal.

''I want to be part of the rotation, it doesn't matter what position they put me in,'' Peralta said. ''Last year I came to spring training with the same goal. . I'm here to be a part of the team, part of the rotation, and wherever they put me I'll be happy with.''