Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta was suspended for the rest of the regular season earlier this year for his alleged role in the Biogenesis scandal surrounding performance-enhancing drugs. The key words there, of course being regular season.
Now that the playoffs have arrived, MLB has allowed Peralta to return to action. He served his 50-game suspension, did his time (so to speak), and that’s that. It’s kind of an odd situation, though. Baseball handed down the suspension with the intent of keeping Peralta out of play for the rest of the regular season, but apparently had no problems letting someone like Peralta or Texas’ Nelson Cruz to return.
Coincidentally, Peralta has done some damage since returning. He’s hitting .450 (9-for-20) with a home run and six RBIs in the six games he’s played in since returning. He’s been especially good in the American League Championship Series as he delivered a key hit in the Tigers’ Game 1 win over the Red Sox.
That’s not sitting very well with some members of the Red Sox, apparently. Hall of Fame reporter Peter Gammons reports that there are some within the Boston clubhouse who are irked that Peralta gets to play.
“There are several Red Sox players who have complained privately that Peralta is allowed to play,” Gammons wrote on his website, GammonsDaily.com. “They wonder what remains in his body.”
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes went on the record to say, essentially, that it is what it is.
“We all play by the rules, and he is playing by the rules. So go out and play,” he said, according to Gammons.
However, Gomes spoke out when another BALCO client, Alex Rodriguez, was able to play after the Yankees third baseman appealed his 211-game suspension.
“I don’t think [he should be playing],” Gomes told the Boston Herald back in August. “I can imagine being the pitcher, just knowing the guy is in on or has done steroids. That’s not an equal battle right there. Good thing I don’t pitch. It doesn’t make much sense that he’s still playing.”
He wasn’t alone. Someone who actually does pitch, Game 3 starter John Lackey, also weighed in on the Rodriguez saga.
“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” he told The Boston Globe. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right … It is pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”
Lackey eventually said the comments were “overblown.” Boston pitcher Ryan Dempster was suspended five games for throwing at Rodriguez in the first series between the two teams after the suspension was handed out.