(Busch Stadium) If everything goes according to plan, Jhonny Peralta will be back on the St. Louis Cardinals active roster in just a couple of more days.
“He’ll play at least for the next three days and if all goes well, he’ll likely be activated on Tuesday in Cincinnati,” shared General Manager John Mozeliak before Friday’s game.
When Peralta is ready he will spend time at both shortstop and third base, with Matt Carpenter getting some reps on the right side of the infield.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” said Mozeliak of Carpenter playing both first and second base. “Right now, you’ve got Garcia (Greg) playing very well and he’ll get an opportunity tonight. But all of this is just trying to go with that hot hand.”
Noting that at-bats are going to be harder to come by, Mozeliak emphasized that who’s on the field will come down to performance. That could make things tough for Kolten Wong, who had one hit in his last 13 at-bats on the recent road trip.
“I imagine all of this is a lot of noise for him and it probably does create a little extra stress for him,” acknowledged Mozeliak. “We can’t sit in front of you guys and not answer what we’re going to do at short, third, and eventually the right side. So, he can’t run from it. As I’ve stated all along, it’s always about performance–if people are playing well, we’ll find a way to play them.”
And with Aledmys Diaz continuing to hit above .300 and adding to belief that he is a long-term answer at shortstop, that means a defensive shuffle will ensue to add Peralta’s bat to the lineup. That said, Mozeliak is still looking big picture with Wong.
“I certainly think he’s a large part of our future,” stated Mozeliak. “Now when you define future as the next couple of weeks, obviously we’re going to just try and mix in some new faces right now and see how we look. But long term, I still think Kolten Wong’s going to be an excellent Major League player.”
PENA AND MANESS ALSO CLOSE
–Besides the update on Peralta, Mozeliak also relayed that catcher Brayan Pena will begin his rehab assignment on Tuesday.
“I would imagine we will try to maximize those 20 days just to make sure he gets his timing right,” said Mozeliak.
Seth Maness is expecting to throw a bullpen on Saturday with plans for a second session before also beginning rehab assignment.
photo credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI