Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Peralta Finding His Swing, May Have to Wait for Sock

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Peralta Finding His Swing, May Have to Wait for Sock

Article excerpt

CHICAGO * As he has tried to work his way back from injury and into a consistent feel at the plate, Cardinals third baseman Jhonny Peralta had to find both his timing and his strength.

One is close. The other may have to wait till 2017.

"I don't want to say I feel 100 percent with my hand," said Peralta, who had surgery in March to repair a tear in his left thumb. "It's not the same as it was before. It's kind of weak. I try to work every day with that. I hope to be strong, 100 percent, so I can start hitting homers again, too. I feel like the home run for me it's not working."

Peralta had three hits, all singles, on Saturday and scored a career-high three runs during the Cardinals' 10-4 victory against the Cubs. Peralta reached base four times, and each of his singles revealed how he's improved his timing at the plate. "Contact," he said, has become his goal because he's been unable to consistently drive the ball.

The Cardinals have moved Peralta in, out, and around the lineup as he's worked on his swing. He didn't start Wednesday, he hit seventh Friday, and on Saturday manager Mike Matheny greeted him with the news he'd bat cleanup. His success (nine for 29, .310) against Cubs starter Jason Hammel helped guide Matheny's pen, but so too did how Peralta has recently looked at the plate.

It's been the contact.

"Numbers can be deceptive at times," Matheny said. Peralta and Hammel "track back pretty far and what does a guy look like right now? If the numbers support it and they guys has some confidence those, to me, help make decisions. But not the whole story."

Since returning from a second stint on the disabled list to address his hand, Peralta has hit .261 with a .314 on-base percentage. He's had 11 extra-base hits in that stretch and only two homers in his past 145 at-bats. He continues to work with the training staff to rebuild strength in his left hand and forearm, but he's going through a stretch similar to what Yadier Molina did when recovering from a similar injury. Peralta has had to find a way to be productive without the power.

He hopes that he'll gain strength as October arrives and that will join the rhythm he's found with his swing

OQUENDO TO COACH YOUNG PROSPECTS

This past week, during player development meetings in Jupiter, Fla. …

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