Cardinals SS Peralta could miss first 2 months of season

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Miami Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki, bottom, is out at second as St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta fails to turn the double play during the third inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. The Marlins Christian Yelich was safe at first. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta injured his left thumb and could miss the first two months of the season.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Peralta is expected to return to St. Louis for a second opinion of what he said may be a damaged ulnar collateral ligament.

“We did take an image of it and it does look like it’s been torn,” Mozeliak said Monday “The severity of that is still something that is being discussed, but the initial read is not positive.”

Peralta hurt his glove hand while fielding a ground ball during Saturday’s exhibition game against Miami. Mozeliak said Peralta felt pain, but wasn’t too worried. Peralta didn’t play Sunday and left the Cardinals’ complex before Monday’s game against the New York Mets.

“He felt some discomfort, but he certainly didn’t think it would be to this level,” Mozeliak said.

Since signing with the Cardinals two years ago, Peralta has played in 312 of 324 regular-season games, hitting 38 homers and driving in 146 runs.

Mozeliak sees three alternatives on the current roster.

A second baseman during his time with San Diego, Jedd Gyorko last played shortstop regularly in college. Used primarily as a utility infielder, Greg Garcia played in 63 games for the Cardinals over the past two seasons, including 13 at shortstop. He is a career .225 hitter.

Aledmys Diaz, a Cuban signed in 2014, hit .264 with 10 homers for Double-A Springfield last season and also played 14 games at Triple-A Memphis.

“We brought Jedd Gyorko in to give us some protection in the middle,” Mozeliak said. “I think Garcia and Diaz may ultimately have a larger role in this. Depending on the outcome of the second opinion will dictate if we have to look outside.”

Catcher Yadier Molina is recovering from pair of offseason operations on his left thumb surgery and has yet to appear in an exhibition game. Molina hopes to be ready for opening day.

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