Peralta, who was significantly affected by a spring training thumb injury last season, is healthy and ready to compete for the third base job this spring, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. "I never felt 100 percent," Peralta said Sunday. "To tell the truth, last year was kind of tough with everything that happened. Going to third base so quickly, that was tough. The swing, sometimes it would not feel right. But I learned from last year. I feel different now."
The veteran, who is entering the final year of his contract in 2017, evidently feels as though he's in a much better position than he was at any time last season. Peralta's thumb, which required surgery that sidelined him until June, never fully healed until the offseason, when a prolonged stretch of rest finally did the trick. Upon his return from the DL last season, he faced a considerable challenge in the field, where he was asked to play third base for the first time since 2010 with the Indians. However, with Aledmys Diaz now clearly the full-time shortstop, Peralta had the luxury of going into this offseason knowing that he could take all of his practice reps at third, where he's expected to compete with Jedd Gyorko this spring. The Cardinals feel that the hot corner is a better fit at this stage for the soon-to-be 35-year-old, considering that it requires less range. The team also believes Peralta's bat still has plenty to offer. After a ragged start in 2016 that included a .233 average over his first 103 at-bats, Peralta bounced back following the All-Star break to slash .274/.325/.403 over his final 186 trips to the plate.
|10/02||vs PIT||W 10-4||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.260||.307||.408|
|10/01||vs PIT||W 4-3||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.260||.307||.411|
|09/30||vs PIT||W 7-0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||.260||.308||.413|
|09/29||vs CIN||W 4-3||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.263||.309||.417|
|09/28||vs CIN||L 1-2||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.263||.310||.420|