LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Tigers All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta said he shouldn’t be on the list of players linked to the Biogenesis case.
“It’s wrong,” Peralta said Wednesday after hitting a double in Detroit’s 11-1 win over the Washington Nationals. “But whatever happens, I need to fight and try to move on.”
Before and after the game, which might end up being his last one for a while, Peralta insisted he didn’t not know whether Major League Baseball planned to suspend him.
“I don’t hear nothing yet,” he said.
Detroit doesn’t have a game scheduled Thursday. While discipline had been expected to be announced Friday, it now appears the probe won’t be wrapped up until at least the weekend.
“I don’t feel nervous,” Peralta said. “But yeah, I worry a little bit because I want to play every day here, and I love to be here in Detroit.”
If Peralta is suspended 50 games for first offense under baseball’s drug program, he would lose $1,639,344 of his $6 million salary.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland wouldn’t even let a reporter finish a question about Peralta’s possible suspension, which would likely make it difficult for him to get into playing shape toward the end of the regular season for a possible postseason run.
“I’m not going to talk about that at all,” Leyland bristled.
Peralta is batting .307 with 10 homers, 53 RBIs and a team-high 29 RBIs in 101 of the team’s 106 games.
“He’s very important to this team,” Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander said. “He’s obviously had an All-Star- caliber season, and he’s gone out there and played just about every game at shortstop.
“You lose a guy like that, that’s tough. But I can’t comment on how it would go to lose him because I don’t know what the possibilities are.”
Even though Peralta said he needed to “fight,” he declined to say whether he would appeal a suspension. Peralta would acknowledged being disheartened if he is forced to miss nearly one-third of the season.
“It’s going to be disappointing, but there’s nothing that I can do,” he said.
The AL Central-leading Tigers are trying to finish first in three straight seasons for the first time since 1907-09. They haven’t won the World Series since 1984.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team protected itself against a suspension by acquiring slick-fielding infielder Jose Iglesias from Boston in a three-team trade Tuesday night.
“If it were a 15-day thing, like a typical injury, I think we could have comfortably dealt with it with the players we already have,” Dombrowski said. “But when you start to talk about 50 days and a possible playoff run, we feel better going ahead with Jose.”
Even though there has been speculation for months that Peralta would be suspended, the 31-year-old native of Dominican Republic said he has attempted to not pay attention.
“I try to play baseball every day and try to come in ready to play every day and don’t try to worry,” he said.
MLB has told the union which players it intends to suspend, and the sides are trying to reach as many agreements as possible that would avoid grievance hearings, two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.
Baseball hopes to announce the penalties for all players involved at the same time, both people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized. Under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions for violations not caused by a positive test are effective on the third business day after the discipline is issued — another sign pointing to a Friday announcement.
Peralta said he hasn’t talked to anybody about the evidence against him as part of the investigation.
“I don’t talk to nobody,” he said.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.
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