Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Jhonny Peralta's Spot in Indians Lineup at Risk

Though he is not a sophomore in the strictest sense, Cleveland shortstop Jhonny Peralta's second full year of play has him experiencing what begins to look something like a classic sophomore slump. After claiming a full-time job last year with a .292 batting average and 24 homers, the 24-year-old Dominican has been less than mediocre this year, batting only .236 with six homers and proving to be highly unworthy of his No. 3 spot in the batting order. Manager Eric Wedge is mindful that Peralta, highly competitive by nature, does not have the type of personality to ideally cope with a demotion in the lineup, and so has avoided disappointing him. But as Peralta approaches the 250 at-bat threshhold, a traditional acid test for evaluation, Wedge may be forced to react if the Peralta fails to find his stroke and the team continues to struggle. Wedge will consider Travis Hafner to bat third by the end of the month.