Oct 27, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) throws to first for an out against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of game three of the 2012 World Series at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Athletes saying they’re in the “best shape of their lives” while entering preseason training camps has become a bit of a joke, but the Detroit Tigers and shortstop Jhonny Peralta are hoping that his offseason workout routine will pay dividends when the season begins in April.
According to a Detroit News article by Tom Gage, Peralta has lost 18 pounds since the end of the World Series.
"Shortstop Jhonny Peralta believes the weight he’s lost (18 pounds since the end of last year) and the agility drills he’s been working on will improve his range.What’s more, though, he knows his bosses hope so.“They wanted me to work on my range up the middle,” Peralta said. “Being lighter will help. But from the beginning, I’ve never had big range.“I’m a different shortstop. I’ve never been quick, but I know how to play the position.”"
Peralta is not going to turn into a defensive wizard by losing this weight, and he’s not going to suddenly develop plus range, but there’s no way that weight reduction coupled with increased agility and flexibility would hurt his cause defensively. Even a modest upgrade with the glove would pay dividends up the middle for the team that struggled to get to ground balls and turn double plays.
Many doubted that Miguel Cabrera would even be able to handle third base enough to stick there all year last season, but a rigorous offseason workout helped him drop 20+ pounds. He didn’t end up as a good defensive third baseman, but he got along well enough that it worked — and it will now allowing Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez to all be in the lineup everyday this upcoming season.
I wouldn’t expect any sort of wild transformation from Peralta this season, but it’s encouraging to see that he’s doing what he can to address his shortcomings as a player. We may still not like his defense in 2013, but we can at least applaud his offseason effort if these reports turn out to indeed be true.