ST. LOUIS -- Still seeking his timing on offense, Jhonny Peralta said he hopes he can at least find opportunities to contribute on defense, as the shortstop did in Friday's 1-0 win.
After watching Peralta stop a sharp liner to start a third-inning double play and later hustle to third to complete an eighth-inning rundown, manager Mike Matheny noted that he had not seen a better defensive game from Peralta this year. The 32-year-old infielder agreed, describing himself as "lighter" on his feet after an early afternoon defensive session with third-base coach Jose Oquendo.
Now, the task is to get his swing right. Peralta did tally a pair of hits Friday, giving him at least some positive momentum. In doing so, he snapped an 0-for-22 skid and raised his average to .169. Peralta has pulled that average north of .200 for only one day this season.
"I think he's just fighting to contribute one way or another, and I don't think he's felt that he's been on top of his game, obviously on the offensive side, but I think he hasn't felt that way defensively either," Matheny said. "I don't think one is causing the other, but I think both are just magnifying, in his mind, because as a very good player you just sit there and say, 'These guys haven't even seen what I can do.' More importantly, the guys in [the clubhouse], but also fans that are following every day."
Peralta entered this season a career .266/.329/.425 hitter in 12 Major League seasons.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.