ST. LOUIS -- Infielder Jhonny Peralta rejoined the Cardinals on Friday, but not as the fit he once was.Replaced by Jedd Gyorko early this season when medication for an upper respiratory infection left him sluggish, Peralta returns knowing that Gyorko has earned the chance to remain the everyday third baseman.
ST. LOUIS -- Infielder Jhonny Peralta rejoined the Cardinals on Friday, but not as the fit he once was.
Replaced by Jedd Gyorko early this season when medication for an upper respiratory infection left him sluggish, Peralta returns knowing that Gyorko has earned the chance to remain the everyday third baseman. And with Aledmys Diaz entrenched at short, Peralta is now facing a future on the bench.
"I understand what's going on," Peralta said. "Everybody is doing well for the team. I understand the situation, but it's kind of hard for me to be on the bench and not play every day because I know what kind of player I can be."
Peralta looked quick and powerful in spring, but after serving as the Opening Day third baseman, production quickly waned. He had three hits in 25 at-bats when he landed on the DL. After playing three rehab games with the Class A Advanced Palm Beach club, Peralta went 4-for-11 in three games with Triple-A Memphis.
"It's going to be a work in progress," manager Mike Matheny said, "to figure out exactly how it looks."
Sierra sent down
In order to make roster room for Peralta, the Cardinals optioned outfielder Magneuris Sierra to Double-A Springfield. Sierra's first taste of the big leagues lasted 12 days, but he packed a strong impression into it.
Sierra leaves having hit safely in all seven games in which he appeared and having further strengthened his case as the best baserunner and defensive player in the system. He rarely looked overmatched after jumping from High A, and the Cardinals went 6-1 in games he started.
"He's just a special kid," Matheny said. "We needed that kind of shot in the arm. We needed the production. And he came through in both ways. Just a really good initiation in the big leagues."
Sierra's success in the Majors led the Cardinals to move Sierra to Double-A, a level he's not been at before. With Oscar Mercado already patrolling center field there, Sierra is likely to slot in at one of the corner spots.
"These sorts of decisions are always harder when you're having team success and you look at how we were scoring runs, and he was very much a part of that," general manager John Mozeliak said. "But big picture on this one, you think about his own development and continuing to work on what he needs to do."
Piscotty nearing return
Weather permitting, outfielder Stephen Piscotty will play in his third rehab game for Springfield on Friday. It may be his last, too.
Piscotty is expected back in St. Louis this weekend, possibly as early as Saturday. He has been out since May 5 with a right hamstring strain and came out of his Thursday night appearance prematurely when he banged his knee into a wall. Mozeliak said the club is "not overly concerned" about that issue.
The club is more concerned about repetitions, as Piscotty has thus far logged only five plate appearances. He is 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
• Lefty Tyler Lyons (right intercostal strain) will make his final rehab start Saturday with Springfield.
• Per an announcement by Commissioner Rob Manfred, Matheny has been named to Major League Baseball's 16-member Competition Committee, which will study all aspects of the game and advise the Commissioner and owners on on-field matters. The committee is made up of front office executives, managers and former players.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.