Jhonny Peralta — ‘I know I can play baseball naturally’

David Brown
Big League Stew

Jhonny Peralta got caught using, or at least trying to buy, what he thought were performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis huckster Tony Bosch. He got suspended for 50 games, he lost his starting job and his reputation took a hit. Regardless, the St. Louis Cardinals signed him to a $53 million free-agent contract in November. So everything's square in Peralta's world? Great, even?

Not quite. Peralta says he still has some of his prestige to restore. The Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat describes Peralta as being "remorseful" at the St. Louis Cardinals annual fan convention:

"I'm trying to put it in the past," Peralta said. "I'm trying to look forward and forget about it. ... I know I can play baseball naturally. I have to show people that I can do it and that I can help.

"I'm going to try to do the best I can do and try to help the Cardinals go to the World Series one more time and win."

The Cardinals, seeking an offensive upgrade over Pete Kozma, signed Peralta to a four-year, $53 million free-agent deal Nov. 24. Peralta batted .303 with 30 doubles, 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 107 games with the Tigers. He hit .352 against left-handers.

Guys with their names attached to Biogenesis always are going to play/be remembered under a cloud of suspicion and doubt. Peralta wasn't singled out because he failed a drug test, but because of what he put on his shopping list. He could continue to test clean and people still will wonder.

He won't control what people think. All he can do is play. That's all the Cardinals really want from him too. Saying contrite things is nice for folks in the autographs lines but, like Peralta says, winning another World Series is what fans really care about. Cards' GM John Mozeliak has said it's not his team's responsibility to be the morality police. What kind of person you are — it's not that it doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter very much.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.comor follow him on Twitter!

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