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With Suspensions Looming, Detroit Acquires Infielder

Prepping for a possible suspension to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, the Detroit Tigers have acquired infielder Jose Inglesias from Boston.

Prepping for a possible suspension to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, the Detroit Tigers have acquired infielder Jose Inglesias from Boston.

Erring on the side of caution, the Detroit Tigers made a move to shore up its infield this week, acquiring Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox.

20130731_AL_CentralThe 23-year-old infielder arrives in the Motor City as the Tigers face the very real possibility of losing shortstop Jhonny Peralta, one of 20-plus major leaguers to be named in the Biogenesis drug scandal.

With Hall of Fame inductions and the trade deadline out of the way, sources expect the Major League Baseball front office to start handed down suspensions over the next few days. It is expected that most of those players named in the Biogenesis report will be handed a 50-game suspension.

A 50-game suspension for Peralta would effectively end his regular season (the Tigers have 56 games remaining on their slate) but he would be eligible to make a postseason appearance. The Tigers’ front office may not want to take a chance on inserting a player that has sat out two months into their lineup come October.

Still, while the writing may appear to be on the wall, Peralta’s absence is not yet confirmed.

“I don’t hear nothing yet,” Peralta told The Detroit News. “I’m still here, so I don’t worry about nothing. It’s a little bit hard, but I need to forget about it and try to move on, try to do what I need to do.”

Detroit’s front office certainly isn’t forgetting about it. The move to bring in Iglesias shows the club is very much weighing up the possibility that Peralta will be absent.

Peralta has been named in the Biogenesis scandal.

Peralta has been named in the Biogenesis scandal.

Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski acquired Iglesias as part of the trade that sent starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox to Boston. The Tigers also sent pitcher Brayan Villereal and outfielder Avisail Garcia to Boston, with the Red Sox moving the latter onto the White Sox.

Iglesias has 71 hits, including 10 doubles, two triples and one home run in 63 games for Boston this season. He is hitting .330 with 19 RBIs. While these numbers may not be to the standards of Peralta (118 hits, 53 RBIs, 10 homers), Iglesias brings something Peralta doesn’t: defense.

With Peralta’s contract up at the end of the year, as well as that of Omar Infante, the Tigers may also have made a move for the future in signing Iglesias.

Dombrowski also made a move this week to bring Houston Astros closer Jose Veras (0-4, 2.93 ERA, 19 SV) to the club.

Veras has had a solid season, converting 19 of 22 saves for a club that doesn’t get a lot of opportunity for saves. He has given up just 15 runs (four homers) in 43 innings of work, striking out more than a batter per inning and allowing just 14 walks.

The 32-year-old right-hander is expected to pitch the seventh inning, setting up Drew Smyly for the eighth and Joaquin Benoit in the ninth. He will be a free agent at the end of this season

Veras pitched one inning in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals, retiring the side in order to begin his Tigers career.

Meanwhile, the Tigers completed a two-game sweep of the NL East club Wednesday on the back of a big offensive performance.

After starter Justin Verlander (11-8, 3.88 ERA) allowed a run in the opening inning, the Tigers went on to score 11 runs on 15 hits, including 10 runs on 11 hits against Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.57 ERA). The Tigers got four hits from outfielder Torii Hunter, who came within a triple of the cycle, and did all the damage without Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera, who missed the game with a strained lower abdomen. Verlander settled down and the Tigers went on to win the game 11-1.

20130731_AL_WildcardWednesday’s win saw the Tigers (61-45) maintain a 2 1/2 game lead at the top of the AL Central. The Tigers have held a lead in the division since July 3, and have been out of first place for just two days since May 24.

The Cleveland Indians (59-48) meanwhile inched another step closer to the postseason, leapfrogging the Baltimore Orioles (59-49) into the second Wild Card berth. With a little more than two months of the regular season still to be played, the Indians are a long way off making a surprise postseason appearance, but the club continues to make the right noises.

Detroit will host the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series this weekend before heading to Cleveland for an important four-game set with the Indians on Monday. With both the Tigers and Indians – who face the Miami Marlins this weekend – likely to enter that series with momentum on their side, those four games could have a huge impact on the AL Central standings.

Before all of that, the Indians will look to complete a four-game sweep of the White Sox on Thursday afternoon (12:05 p.m. ET).

Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians odds for 8/1/13 are available now. A win will put the Tribe within two games of the Tigers.

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