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Peralta eager to prove himself for Cards on field

Peralta eager to prove himself for Cards on field play video for Peralta eager to prove himself for Cards on field

ST. LOUIS -- On a day when he made his first public appearance as a Cardinal, new shortstop Jhonny Peralta expressed remorse for his past performance-enhancing drug transgressions and a desire to prove that the Cardinals made the right decision to look beyond his mistakes.

Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53 million contract in November, is coming off a season marred by his connection to Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Florida that allegedly supplied players with PEDs. Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy last summer before returning to the Tigers at the end of the season.

He was strong in his late-season return, and Peralta, 31, wants to show he is still plenty capable of being a key contributor.

"I want to show to the fans and to the people that it's not what everybody thinks about it," Peralta said during his Winter Warm-Up appearance. "I know I could play baseball before [this connection to Biogenesis]. I know I can play baseball naturally. I have to show people that I can do it and that I can help."

Asked if he would address his new teammates regarding his PED past as he did his teammates in Detroit last year, Peralta added: "I'm trying to put it in the past. I'm trying to look forward and forget about it. I know a lot of the guys here in St. Louis are pretty good guys. I think they're going to welcome me."

Peralta, who fills what was a gaping hole at shortstop, said several teams were courting him to play that position this offseason. The reputation of the Cardinals organization and the chance to play on a perennial playoff contender drew him to St. Louis.

"I knew the Cardinals needed somebody to play shortstop and that offense was more important for them," Peralta said. "I had a couple of opportunities to go different places, but I decided to come here. It's a better organization, and it will be good to play here.

"I've been watching the Cardinals for a long time, and this was one of the teams I wanted to be with. It's a great organization and there's a great opportunity to be a champion. I want to be a champion, too. When my agent told me about [their interest], I was very excited about it."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.