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Peraza struggling as Cozart's fill-in at SS

MLB.com @m_sheldon

MIAMI -- With Zack Cozart out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive game on Thursday against the Marlins, Jose Peraza was given another opportunity to get playing time back after he was benched last week in favor of Scooter Gennett at second base.

Originally a shortstop, Peraza has played there plenty this season when Cozart was out periodically with a sore right quadriceps. But he didn't fare well during Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Yankees.

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MIAMI -- With Zack Cozart out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive game on Thursday against the Marlins, Jose Peraza was given another opportunity to get playing time back after he was benched last week in favor of Scooter Gennett at second base.

Originally a shortstop, Peraza has played there plenty this season when Cozart was out periodically with a sore right quadriceps. But he didn't fare well during Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Yankees.

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"It was a tough day," Peraza said via translator Julio Morillo on Thursday. "Every player has a tough day and for me, it was yesterday. I felt kind of weird yesterday. I don't know if it was the field itself; I don't really know. I'm just going to work hard and do my job at shortstop."

Peraza missed a Clint Frazier grounder to the left side that could have prevented a run if stopped. In the sixth inning, Peraza made a throwing error that led to a run and also pulled his foot off of second base during a force play.

There was no optimism lost for Peraza, however.

"I'm going to just try and do my job at shortstop like when I do it at second base," he said. "Right now, I feel comfortable there. I know I can I play shortstop."

Peraza, who came into Thursday 0-for-9 on the road trip and batting .161 since the All-Star break, lost his starting spot to the better-hitting Gennett last week.

Entering the day, Peraza was batting .246/.274/.319 with four homers and 26 RBIs in 95 games. As a rookie last season, he batted .324/.352/.411 with three homers in 72 games.

"I feel fine. Scooter has been doing a great job. He has to play," Peraza said. "Right now, I'm working hard in the cages, working on things. I know I'm going to be able to hit again like I did last year. I believe in myself and that I can do it."

Cozart was on the field Thursday afternoon but did not take batting practice or grounders. He aggravated his quad trying to beat out a double play Tuesday as a pinch-hitter against the Yankees. It left him unable to score what would have been the tying run from first base on a two-out double to the wall in the eighth inning of the 4-2 loss.

"He'll have to be active on the field and do all of that pregame stuff before he's considered a guy that would be in the lineup anytime soon," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We're optimistic it will be a short stay out of the lineup. But until you see him on the field practicing, he's still at least a day away."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Zack Cozart, Jose Peraza