Arizona Diamondbacks: Strong comeback season for Peralta

David Peralta is among the leading hitters in the National League. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
David Peralta is among the leading hitters in the National League. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) /

David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks is among the NL leaders in batting average.

When you’re healthy, good things usually happen. Just ask outfielder David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Coming off a season when Peralta was drilled on the right wrist on consecutive days, developed severe inflammation and eventually underwent surgery to stabilize a tendon in his right wrist, playing time was limited and frustration levels heightened.

After a winter of rehabilitation and a fresh breeze called Torey Lovullo infiltration the clubhouse, Peralta turned a tenuous recovery into his fierce reputation as “The Freight Train.” Slotted in the number two hole just ahead of Paul Goldschmidt, Peralta is getting pitches to hit and making pitcheers pay.

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Coming into Saturday’s game with the Phillies in Chase Field, Peralta was hitting .449 in his last 13 games and fifth in the National League in hitting with a .330 average. Goldschmidt is right above at .332. Only Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals (.348), Daniel Murphy of the Nationals (.344) and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants (.342) have higher batting averages.

For Peralta, the key to a blistering season thus far is his health issue. Speaking exclusively with Venom Strikes before Saturday’s game, Peralta pointed out the critical nature of staying healthy.

"“Being healthy is the key,” he said. “When you’re healthy, and have the talent, you know what you can do. You have confidence and you’re able to relax.”"

After hit on the right wrist by Giants’ lefty Josh Osich during consecutive games last April, Peralta never recovered. Landing on the DL three times in 2016, Peralta ended up in only 48 games and hit .251.  That was the lowest average of any professional season. His previous low average was .297 for Double-A Mobile (53 games) before called up by the Diamondbacks in the middle of 2014 season.

Coming into spring training, Peralta told Venom Strikes the task ahead was easy. With his health restored, the native of Venezuela began working on all aspects of his game, including hitting against left-handed pitching. His health was also an important variable of gaining Lovullo’s attention.

Prior to Saturday’s game, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that he discovered Peralta exhibiting the kind of character and temperament needed to help move the Diamondbacks forward.

"“In spring training, I saw David as a person who was honest and open,” he said. “I was really impress with his comfort level and his ability to express who he was. I also saw a person who was passionate about the game and someone who cares deeply for his teammates.”"

Out of the two-hole, Peralta has become as dangerous against left-handed pitching as against righties. Coming into play Saturday, he was hitting .325 against lefties and .332 against rights. All of which, he told Venom Strikes, is a tribute to Lovullo.

"When (Lovullo) first spoke with us in spring training, he said we are a family,” Peralta pointed out. “We win as one and we lose as one. Communication is the key and when you’re open and build that communication, you want to play hard for the manager and for your teammates. It all starts with communication.”"

Roster move

After Friday night’s game, the Diamondbacks optioned outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker to Triple-A Reno. In his place, the club recalled right-handed reliever Silvino Bracho from Reno.

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Because Randall Delgado is slated to start Sunday against the Phillies, Lovullo explained to Venom Strikes he wanted another arm in the bullpen. Once Delgado spins through the rotation in this cycle, Lovullo said he will return to the bullpen for the remainder of the season.