Cal notes: Peralta shows perseverance

Former hurler proving himself in return as Rawhide outfielder

Visalia's David Peralta is hitting .382 with three home runs in 17 games. (Ken Weisenberger)

By George Alfano / Special to | July 24, 2013 6:00 AM

If David Peralta's professional baseball career could be summed up in a song, it might be named, "I'll Get By with a Little Help from My Friends … and Family."

Peralta, who bats and throws left-handed, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 and started his career as a pitcher in the Dominican Summer League. He pitched in the Appalachian League during 2006 and 2007, but two shoulder surgeries and a 2008 campaign spent attempting to rehab led to his release soon after.

"I was released when I was 21, but no one said I should give up," said Peralta, who turns 26 on Aug. 14. "My friends and family told me I have talent and said to keep working hard. That was what motivated me."

Peralta is in his third year as a full-time position player, but his first in affiliated baseball. He opened some eyes in 2012 when he hit .332 with 70 RBIs in 98 games for the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent American Association.

Since joining Visalia, Peralta is batting .382 in 17 games and has an 11-game hitting streak after a 3-for-5 performance Tuesday night. Ten of his 26 hits have been for extra bases, and his OPS is 1.018.

"I knew Arizona was following me in January and February," said Peralta, who started the 2013 season with the Amarillo Sox of the American Association. "One day I got a call from the Diamondbacks, and they told me they just bought my contract."

Peralta's baseball odyssey has covered nine seasons, five leagues, three nations and two continents. He's played five winters in his native Venezuela and met his wife in Jupiter, Fla.

He married Jordan Laria, who played college softball, two and a half years ago. He said her family -- including his father-in-law, who is a high school basketball coach -- is also very supportive. Peralta lived in Venezuela until he got married, then moved to Florida.

The lone apparent weakness in Peralta game at the moment has come against left-handed pitchers. He has had only one hit in nine at-bats against southpaws, and Visalia manager Bill Plummer said he's platooning Peralta for the time being.

"He probably didn't see many hard-throwing left-handers in independent baseball," said Plummer, who's been in professional baseball since 1965 and was a member of the Cincinnati Reds when they won the World Series in 1975 and 1976. "He has good power, plays good defense, and plays very hard."

When they signed him back in 2005, the Cardinals told Peralta that the easiest way to the Majors would be as a left-handed pitcher. Eight years later, Peralta is showing there are other ways to the big leagues.

In brief

Sappington strikes back: Mark Sappington scattered two hits over six scoreless innings against Lancaster on Friday. His effort was made sweeter since the JetHawks had tagged him for six runs over 5 2/3 innings back on May 26. Sappington, ranked as the No. 9 Angels prospect by, has four consecutive victories and five straight quality starts.

Long ball leaders: There's a three-way tie for the Cal League home run lead as Scott Schebler of Rancho Cucamonga and Michael Snyder of Inland Empire each have 21, matching Stockton's Max Muncy total before he was promoted to Double-A Midland. Schebler is first in OPS at 1.003, while Snyder's 117 hits are second in the curcuit and trail only 66ers teammate Alex Yarbrough (133).

Stephenson a treasure: The Bakersfield Blaze added RHP Robert Stephenson from the Dayton Dragons of the Class A Midwest League. Stephenson, whom ranks as the Reds' No. 3 prospect, enjoyed a quality start in his debut against Visalia on Friday. Though charged with a loss, Stephenson allowed two earned runs on five hits and did not walk a batter in six innings. He proved a mound master in Dayton, striking out 96 batters and walking 20 in 77 innings.

Movin' up roundup: The Los Angeles Dodgers assigned Carlos Marmol to the Chattanooga Lookouts after the former Major Leaguer pitched in three games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. ... The San Francisco Giants advanced pitcher Austin Fleet from San Jose to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. Fleet had pitched for Fresno earlier in the season before being assigned to San Jose. ... The Giants also promoted SS Matt Duffy to San Jose from the Augusta GreenJackets, where he had a .401 on-base percentage in the Class A South Atlantic League. Dolan opened with two doubles in five at-bats Monday against Stockton. ... The Houston Astros promoted LHP Theron Geith, who has a 6-0 record with a 2.86 ERA for the Lancaster JetHawks, to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Double-A Texas League. Gerth was a 39th-round selection in the 2011 Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, who traded him to Houston for outfielder Ben Francisco. ... Brandon Sinnery was promoted from South Bend to Visalia by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The University of Michigan product was 7-4 with a 3.04 ERA at South Bend and quickly acclimated himself to the California League, winning Pitcher of the Week after throwing six shutout innings and striking out nine at hitter-friendly High Desert.

George Alfano is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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