Officially the Tigers haven’t made a decision yet on whether they’ll allow Jhonny Peralta to rejoin the team once his 50-game suspension is over on September 26, but the shortstop is set to begin working out with the team again.
Here’s what the Tigers said on the topic yesterday in a statement:
There has been no decision made regarding Peralta’s return to the active roster. It is an organizational decision to allow Jhonny to workout with the club in order to see if it will be in the best interest of the team to have him return at the end of his suspension.
In other words, if he looks good and like he can help the team they’ll let him play once the suspension is over, which makes it performance-based rather than morality-based. And that’s fine, especially since the Rangers plan to have Nelson Cruz on the playoff roster once he returns from the same Biogenesis-related suspension.
How much he’ll play is another issue, as slick-fielding rookie Jose Iglesias has taken over at shortstop since being acquired from the Red Sox to fill in for Peralta and the Tigers have Miguel Cabrera at third base and Omar Infante at second base. Most likely he’d fill a part-time bench role.
Peralta hit .305 with 11 homers, 29 doubles, and an .822 OPS in 104 games before the suspension and the 31-year-old is an impending free agent.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.
Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez made his debut with his new team on Thursday night after a brief stint with Triple-A Round Rock. He started in left field and was inserted into the number eight spot in the Rangers’ batting order.
The Rangers made two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning, with Adrian Beltre grounding out and Rougned Odor striking out. But the inning was kept alive as Jonathan Lucroy singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then Mitch Moreland walked to bring up Gomez.
Gomez took a first-pitch cutter from Josh Tomlin for a ball, then jumped on another cut fastball, drilling it for a no-doubt three-run home run into the seats in left field at Globe Life Park in Arlington (#29 out of 30 in Craig’s ballpark name rankings).
Here’s the video.