Jhonny Peralta’s Big Spring Moment, Times Two

Yes, it was just a spring training game. No, it doesn’t count for anything.

Jhonny Peralta

               Photo: STLToday.com

Still, Jhonny Peralta hitting a home run yesterday on the first pitch to him from his former team, the Detroit Tigers, was pretty cool.

Hitting another homer in his second at-bat? Even more cool — even if it sounds like the wind helped that one a bit.

Baseball moments like that are great, no matter when (or how) they happen.

And especially when they happen in a game that’s a long bus ride away from Cards camp in Jupiter, Fla., as Andrew Simon writes at MLB.com:

Veterans with 11 years of Major League service, a new $53 million contract and a guaranteed spot in the lineup don’t make too many 150-minute bus rides to play in Spring Training games. Jhonny Peralta was an exception on Monday, and the cross-Florida trip proved to be well worth it.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny suggested that his new shortstop go so that he could visit his former Tigers teammates and play in front of their fans after spending more than three seasons with the club. Peralta agreed, then went out and blasted two home runs off left-hander Drew Smyly in two plate appearances, hitting one out to left field and one to right.

“I feel really happy to be at home plate here and to face the Detroit Tigers,” Peralta said. “I was excited to hear the fans and everything. It made me excited to play today.”

As for the outcome of the game itself, well — remember that spring training games don’t count. Not every Cardinal had as good of a day as Jhonny did.

So let’s just focus on his cool moments instead, with this from Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“It’s not because I came here that I tried to hit the ball like that,” he said. “I try to hit the ball everywhere I go. But I felt really good today.”

Rather than trying for home runs, he merely wanted to work on his swing, Peralta said. “They’re waiting for offense at shortstop,” he said.

Yes, Jhonny, that is very true.

And speaking of truth, his former manager Jim Leyland is never one to shy away from being honest — as this quote about Jhonny from Hummel’s article shows.

“He doesn’t have great range at shortstop but he’s going to catch everything and he’s going to throw it accurately,” said Leyland. “He’s going to hit it in the gap and he’s going to hit some over the fence. He doesn’t run very well … but I absolutely loved him.

“Good guy. Good player. And, in the ninth inning you want the ball hit to him.”

Here’s hoping for more homers from Jhonny when they count. Less running that way …

Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like us on Facebook if you don’t already.

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