The visions of Jose Peraza running wild around the bases in the postseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers may be nothing more than that.
Peraza, the young speedster acquired from the Atlanta Braves, went down with a hamstring strain that originally cost him just a few days. He tried to return, but was shut down shortly after. On Monday, manager Don Mattingly talked about the prospect of Peraza returning this year, and it wasn’t too promising. He said the 21-year-old could miss the rest of the regular season, and possibly postseason, with the strain.
On Tuesday, Mattingly changed his tune a bit by saying that Peraza had started rehab work and that he would not be placed on the disabled list. While the 15-day DL wouldn’t be a necessity with September roster expansion, the 60-day DL was a possibility in order for the Dodgers to clear a spot for Carlos Frias.
The Dodgers must believe that Peraza can return before the season ends or else he would have been the perfect way to activated Frias.
Mattingly also talked about the chance that Peraza had to make the postseason roster and if the Dodgers have anyone else with his skill set and speed. “We’re talking about a speed guy,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, that’s up in the air a little bit right now. With that type of thing it’s a luxury. Sometimes you would need it and sometimes you wouldn’t.”
Some teams like to keep a player on the roster that brings a speed element for late-inning situations when a run is needed. Mattingly brought up former Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon when discussing the role. “We had Dee [Gordon] a couple of years ago, and I think we used him one time,” he said. “Maybe we had him another time and didn’t use him at all. That’s one of those things you never know if you need it or not until you get to that spot.”
While it’s true that the role is a luxury, Peraza is much more than just a speed guy. He can play shortstop, second base and center field with an above-average bat.
When asked if the Dodgers had anyone else to potentially fill that role, Mattingly said, “I don’t think we have anybody else [in the Minors] that we would consider for that role.” The Dodgers did start a “speed camp” this season, but those players were strictly runners and would not be necessary on this current team.[divide]