Peralta joins Cards in Miami, shows off improved thumb

Peralta joins Cards in Miami, shows off improved thumb

MIAMI -- Infielder Jhonny Peralta rejoined the Cardinals on Saturday to pass some final tests before the club activates him from the 15-day disabled list. If all goes as planned, that transaction will be made on Tuesday, the first day Peralta is eligible to return from a ligament strain in his left thumb.

Peralta remained back in St. Louis when the club left for this 11-day, 10-game road trip on Sunday. Upon meeting the club in Miami, Peralta participated in infield drills and batting practice at Marlins Park to showcase the improved strength in his thumb.

"Everything has been good so far," Peralta said. "I feel no pain."

Peralta went on to explain that the discomfort that sent him back to the DL was not persistent, but rather surfaced primarily when he took a hard swing and did not make contact.

"When I hit the ball," Peralta noted, "it was fine."

Though the inflammation was not in the spot that was surgically repaired in March, Peralta said he was told by the medical staff that the issue does often present itself while someone is regaining strength after that sort of surgery. The strengthening process continues, and it remains to be seen whether Peralta's production is limited at all because of that once he returns.

In the 30 games Peralta played before his second DL stint, he went 25-for-113 (.221) with seven doubles and five homers. His slugging percentage (.416) was actually higher than the mark he had in 2015.

"I'm coming back and hope to do the best I can," Peralta said. "I'm staying positive."

The role that awaits Peralta remains fuzzy, too. Since July 18, the date Peralta was moved to the DL, Jedd Gyorko has hit .310/.370/.810 with a 1.179 OPS, seven homers and 11 RBIs. With that production, Gyorko has positioned himself for continued consideration at third base even when Peralta returns to the mix.

"We'll just wait and see when we get there," manager Mike Matheny said. "We'll figure out how it all comes together and how we plug them in once we get there."

Worth noting

Stephen Piscotty remained out of the lineup for a second straight day, and Aledmys Diaz joined him on Saturday as Matheny felt both players needed a breather. Piscotty stepped away entirely on Friday -- "a good shutdown day," Matheny described it -- and then went back to work in the batting cages on Saturday. He is hitless in 12 at-bats on the road trip and has struck out eight times.

Diaz had started nine straight games, including both ends of Tuesday's doubleheader in New York. He is on call to return home to nearby to West Palm Beach, Fla., for the birth of his first child, though Matheny said the decision to hold the rookie shortstop out of Saturday's lineup was unrelated to the personal matter.

Brandon Moss (left ankle sprain) went 0-for-2 with a walk while playing seven innings for Double-A Springfield on Friday. It was Moss' second appearance since beginning a rehab assignment.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.