Peralta ready for challenge of Green Monster
BOSTON -- Outfield novice Jhonny Peralta faces a big challenge in his new role. He is expecting to play left field for Game 1 on Saturday, and that means standing in the shadow of the Green Monster.
Handling Fenway Park's left-field wall -- 37 feet high and just over 300 feet from home plate down the line -- can be a daunting experience for experienced left fielders. For somebody who just switched to the position and is learning on the fly, it has the potential for a mishap at the wrong time.
"It's going to be different," said Peralta, who got his first exposure to Fenway Park during Friday's workout. "I need to practice on the fly balls and reading the ball off the wall. The big thing is I know it's close. I need to figure out how far I can go and when the ball goes off the wall, see how to react."
By using Peralta in left field, the Tigers get his bat in the lineup and are able to use defensive whiz Jose Iglesias at shortstop. Peralta lost his job at shortstop when he was suspended for 50 games for Major League Baseball's Drug Treatment and Prevention Policy. He was activated three games before the end of the season and the Tigers immediately put him in the outfield.
Peralta played shortstop in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Athletics, but manager Jim Leyland said Iglesias will start there on Saturday against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. Leyland has not said who will play left field, but Peralta is a right-handed hitter who is 7-for-25 with two home runs off Lester. Don Kelly and Andy Dirks, both left-handed hitters, are his other options.