Cardinals Peralta undergoes surgery for thumb injury

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and likely will be sidelined for about 10-to-12 weeks.

Manager Mike Matheny anticipated Peralta will return in a few days to the team's spring training site in Jupiter, Florida. The surgery took place in St. Louis after Peralta got a second opinion.

The Cardinals will consult with the surgeon, Dr. Charlie Goldfarb, to find out when Peralta can return to action.

General manager John Mozeliak said Peralta likely will be in a cast for four-to-six weeks.

''After that, it will be just gaining flexibility and strength,'' Mozeliak said. ''After that, we'll see how quickly he can hit.''

Matheny also said catcher Yadier Molina checked out fine a day after playing three innings behind the plate in his spring training debut. Molina, who had a pair of offseason operations, could play again Friday, catching Carlos Martinez, but won't bat for about a week.

Goldfarb also did both of the Molina surgeries, the second one a reconstruction.

Offseason acquisition Jedd Gyorko is likely to get the first chance to fill in at shortstop. The Cardinals also have utilityman Greg Garcia and prospect Aledmys Diaz in camp.

Mozeliak said the Cardinals aren't interested in a deal right now.

''You know, there's been some activity on that but as you can imagine, in this line of work, it's sort of referred to as ambulance chasing,'' the GM said. ''For us, it's again, let's understand what we have.''

Mozeliak said there might be a perception the Cardinals are ''in panic mode - and we're not.''

Diaz started on Thursday, a day after Gyorko got the nod. Matheny said Garcia, who appeared in 49 games last year and started at third base on Thursday, likely will play a lot in later innings of games. Earlier in the week, Diaz had a four-hit game.

''We've seen Garcia out there and have a pretty good idea. Haven't seen much of Diaz and haven't seen much of Gyorko,'' Matheny said. ''We need to see for ourselves.''

Gyorko was a college shortstop and played 28 games at shortstop last year with San Diego. Like Peralta, Gyorko is a power hitter with perhaps less range than prototypical shortstops. He had 16 homers and 57 RBIs last year; Peralta had 17 homers and 71 RBIs.

Matheny said the Cardinals have analyzed data on Gyorko but isn't that enamored with metrics like range factor. He wants to see for himself.

''I'd like to say it holds a lot of water, but the most recent experience I have is we picked up Jhonny Peralta and everybody told us what he could not do at shortstop,'' Matheny said. ''We've been very happy with what Jhonny has been able to do and everybody told us we shouldn't expect much.''

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