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Peralta responds after time out of lineup

Peralta responds after time out of lineup

CLEVELAND -- The video shows a younger Jhonny Peralta, but not much younger.

It is, after all, just video from 2008, when Peralta was batting primarily in the cleanup spot for the Indians and leading all American League shortstops in RBIs, runs scored and OPS.

The video, then, is a reminder that Peralta is not that far removed from the good ole days, as it were. Hitting coach Derek Shelton showed Peralta that video over the weekend, when Peralta was benched for two games against the Tigers.

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"We look at the video to show him and help him remember how good he is," Shelton said. "When you're going through [a slump], you tend to forget that."

That's the mental side of the work the Indians are doing with Peralta, who returned to the lineup Sunday and figures to be in there Monday night, when the Indians open a three-game set against the White Sox at Progressive Field.

As far as the fundamental side is concerned, it's obvious something is askew with Peralta's swing and his pitch selection. He is batting just .229 with a .606 OPS, though he certainly showed some needed signs of life in Sunday's 3-for-4 day.

"It's no secret we want him to use the middle of the field, and he has power to right field," Shelton said. "We want to see him get back to that approach. He's expanded his hitting zone."

In other words, Peralta is swinging at pitches he used to lay off -- pitches too far in and too far out of his strike zone.

"I'm seeing the ball good," Peralta said. "I know I can do better than this. I'm trying to work hard to improve."

Peralta said he had a slow bat in a flat April, but he doesn't feel that's the issue now.

"The speed of my bat is not a problem," he said. "But I'm hitting a lot of ground balls. A lot of pitches that I used to hit to right field, right now I'm hitting them for ground balls to shortstop and third base."

This isn't the first time in his career that Peralta has sat for a couple days to clear his mind during a slump. He hopes this little respite helps in the long run.

The Indians, though, don't have a lot of time to wait for Peralta to come around, given their place in the standings. It's conceivable that the Tribe will continue to give Luis Valbuena a strong look at second base, with Asdrubal Cabrera at short and Peralta in more of a fight for at-bats. It's also possible Peralta will begin seeing time at third base, though Peralta said that scenario has not yet been presented to him by manager Eric Wedge.

For now, Peralta is just trying to ride out what has been a rough stretch to start the season.

"Every year, I don't start too good," Peralta said. "That's bad for the team. I know I can do good if I change a little bit. Every year, this has happened early in the season, but I finish strong."

The video proves it.

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Carl Pavano (2-3, 6.61 ERA)
After starting the season 0-3 with a 9.50 ERA through his first four starts, Pavano has pitched at least six innings in each of his last two outings, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. On Wednesday, he located all his pitches, ending the Red Sox's nine-game home winning streak while stifling Boston for two runs on six hits and three walks, with four strikeouts and a hit batter in six innings. It was his first career win at Fenway Park, and his first career victory against the Sox since June 7, 1999, while with the Expos.

CWS: RHP Gavin Floyd (2-2, 6.29 ERA)
Ozzie Guillen believes that Floyd needs to be far more aggressive within the strike zone, and Floyd does not disagree with his manager. Floyd was staked to 5-1 and 7-4 leads during Tuesday's game in Kansas City, but he couldn't shut down the Royals for the victory. Floyd gave up six runs on six hits over five innings, striking out two and walking two, while also allowing two home runs. Floyd had a 2-0 record with a 5.25 ERA last year against Cleveland and has a 2-1 record lifetime against the Indians. This will be his first start at Progressive Field.

Tidbits
On Friday and Saturday, the Indians were shut out by the Tigers in back-to-back games in Cleveland for the first time since July 3-4, 2008. ... The Tribe went 19 innings without a run, until Grady Sizemore came through with an RBI single in the second inning of Sunday's game. ... Grace Jasinski, a 20-year-old Tribe fan from Aurora, Ohio, was in the right place at the right time Sunday. Jasinski became the 40 millionth fan to walk through the turnstiles at Progressive Field and received a prize package valued at more than $20,000. The package included an authentic jersey with the number 40 on the back, a 40-game season ticket package, a $400 Indians Team Shop shopping spree, 40 balloons and 40 red roses, among other things.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• STO-HD

On radio
• WTAM 1100

Up next
• Tuesday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 5-0, 2.61) at Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 0-1, 12.60), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 5-0, 2.61) at Indians (Cliff Lee, 1-5, 3.45), 12:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 1-4, 5.57) at Rays (James Shields, 3-3, 4.02), 7:08 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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