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07/22/08 10:35 PM ET
Red-hot Peralta given day out of lineup
Indians shortstop has given Tribe stability in cleanup spot
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- It couldn't have been easy for Indians manager Eric Wedge to post a lineup without shortstop Jhonny Peralta's name in the cleanup spot, but that's what he did Tuesday night against the Angels. Wedge has made an effort to get Peralta consistent days off all season to keep him fresh, and Peralta's surge in the No. 4 spot wasn't going to change that. "We'll give him two out of the next three days off [with Thursday's off-day]," Wedge said. "It's a good time to get him a day off. There are days we'll give him from time to time here in the second half to keep him strong and keep him going." Asdrubal Cabrera moved over to short Tuesday, with Jamey Carroll taking over at second base. While the Indians can undoubtedly make a defensive improvement at short by inserting Cabrera at the position in Peralta's place, no one on the Tribe this season has taken to the middle of the order quite like Peralta has in the past month. Since moving to the cleanup spot on June 22, Peralta has hit .337 (31-for-92) with 13 doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs in 23 games. He also has a current 11-game hitting streak in which he's batted .356 (16-for-45) with five homers and 15 RBIs. He has five multi-hit games in his last nine games. "He's really stepped up," said Wedge, who temporarily put Casey Blake in the cleanup spot Tuesday. "He's stepped up in a primary role. He looks comfortable there, he's playing with confidence, he's hitting with confidence, he's a run-producer. It's a great experience for him, and it's good for us as a ballclub, too." But while Peralta is delivering with his bat, his glove is always under scrutiny. Cabrera is the superior defender at short, and that leads to speculation that Peralta's days as the everyday shortstop could be numbered and a move to third base might be in the offing. For now, though, Wedge is quick to shoot down such talk. "He's our shortstop," Wedge said earlier this week. "I don't see us making any change anytime soon."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.