Peraza takes opportunity and runs with it
Dodgers youngster has huge game filling in at second base
LOS ANGELES -- Infielder Jose Peraza, acquired last month to be part of the Dodgers' future, was part of the present Saturday night.
Providing a night off for Chase Utley, who has been filling in for injured second baseman Howie Kendrick, Peraza went 2-for-4 with a tying RBI double in the seventh inning of a 5-2 Dodgers win over the Cubs.
In only his third Major League start, Peraza also stole third base, stole second base, scored twice and turned a flawless pivot and relay on a crucial double-play grounder in the eighth inning.
"He's an interesting guy," said manager Don Mattingly. "He runs really well. Davey [Lopes] was with him last time he was up and felt he had really good instincts to steal bases. He gives us speed and puts the ball in play. With two strikes he put the ball in play. Put the ball in play and good things can happen."
Peraza, a 21-year-old from Venezuela, came to the Dodgers in the deal that sent Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, injured reliever Paco Rodriguez and Minor League pitcher Zach Bird to the Braves. At the time, the keys to the deal for the pitching-needy Dodgers were presumed to be Major League starter Alex Wood and relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan. The Dodgers also accepted the injured Bronson Arroyo.
Peraza, after a three-day callup from Triple-A following Kendrick's injury, was an emergency recall Friday night when Yasiel Puig was placed on the disabled list. With Utley hitting only .186 against lefties this year, Peraza got the start Saturday night against lefty Jon Lester and didn't look 21.
"I just remain relaxed, and thankfully things turned out great," Peraza said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity given to me by the manager."
At the time of the trade, the Dodgers said they targeted Peraza because he has made a smooth transition from his original position of shortstop to second base. By contrast, the Dodgers were not convinced that Olivera could adapt to third base after spending most of his professional career in Cuba at second base.
With Kendrick, Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins free agents after the season, Peraza could show enough over the final five weeks of the season to be counted on for a starting role in 2016.