CHICAGO -- The Tigers have yet to make a decision on a possible return for suspended shortstop Jhonny Peralta, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said again Monday. Next week, however, could provide an initial sign.
If they're going to get Peralta ready for a return, the prep work is going to come pretty soon.
By the rules of Peralta's 50-game suspension, he's eligible to begin a rehab assignment in about a week. However, the Tigers have no Minor League affiliate still playing. Double-A Erie was eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs over the weekend, and neither Triple-A Toledo nor the Class A teams in Lakeland, Fla., and West Michigan made the postseason.
That leaves the Florida instructional league as the highest-level destination where he could rehab. It's where teams send players after their Minor League seasons end for extra work in September and early October, either to follow up on progress made during the summer or to set up a move for the following spring. The majority of players involved are in the lower levels of the farm system.
Since it's not an official league with a set schedule of games against other clubs, instructional league technically doesn't count as a rehab assignment. With intrasquad games, however, the Tigers could set up simulated games to get Peralta extra at-bats.
The Tigers' instructional league begins Sept. 19, a week before Peralta's suspension ends. When the latter happens, on Sept. 26, the Tigers must decide whether to restore Peralta to the active roster or make a move to take him off.