The first of the Biogenesis bunch is coming back — the Detroit Tigers say they will activate Jhonny Peralta on Friday, the first day he's eligible to return from his 50-game suspension handed down by MLB on Aug. 5. The decision was announced Wednesday by GM Dave Dombrowski.
Peralta was suspended for his ties to Biogenesis, the Miami-area clinic run by Anthony Bosch, which is alleged to have peddled PEDs to MLB players like Peralta, Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. A total of 13 players were suspended on Aug. 5, including A-Rod who is appealing his suspension.
It's still unclear what Peralta's role will be with the Tigers, and whether he'll join the team in the postseason. Detroit traded for rookie shortshop Jose Iglesias to replace Peralta. He's been hurt a bit lately and his bat isn't as potent as Peralta's, but defensively he's an upgrade. The Tigers had Peralta play left field in the instructional league recently. The Detroit Free Press has more on Peralta's return:
Dombrowski didn’t offer any indication of whether Peralta would be on the post-season roster. He said how Peralta is used in the final three games will be up to manager Jim Leyland. But it seems clear the Tigers want to have a look at Peralta in left field as a way to get him in the post-season lineup.
Dombrowski said he had received good reports on how Peralta, a career-long infielder, has adapted to left field in his workouts over the last week in the Florida Instructional League. (Peralta hasn’t yet had any game action in left, in part due to rain limiting play this week.)
Dombrowski said it was his idea that Peralta try left field and that it was the only place open for him to play. Jose Iglesias has taken over for Peralta at shortstop.
Before his suspension, Peralta was doing well for the Tigers: 305/.361/.461 with 11 homers and 29 doubles in 436 plate appearances. Iglesias has hit .276/.324/.370 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 139 plate appearances since taking over for Peralta. Meanwhile, the Tigers have gotten three homers, 18 RBIs and a .270/.333/.371 hitting line from their left fielders since Aug. 5.
Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers is the other Biogenesis suspendee whose team is in the postseason chase. His 50-game suspension is done at the end of the regular season. He could return if the Rangers, who are a game back in the AL Wild Card hunt as of Wednesday, make the playoffs.