Jose Iglesias became the Tigers' shortstop while Jhonny Peralta, pictured, was serving his 50-game suspension. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Oakland, Calif. – Win or lose, whatever the Tigers do Thursday night, they’ll do it with Jhonny Peralta as their starting shortstop.
Replacing Jose Iglesias at short, Peralta was put back as his old position for Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics.
It’s his first start at short since before his 50-game suspension.
Donnie Kelly got the start in left – which is where Peralta started in Games 3 and 4.
The value of Peralta’s bat was undeniable in that his three-run home run in the fifth tied Game 4, and his double set up the go-ahead run.
“Jhonny has played shortstop a long time in the big leagues,” said manager Jim Leyland. “He made the All-Star team twice.
“People will make a big deal about it, but it’s no big deal to me. The coaches all agreed with it.”
The A’s are starting right-hander Sonny Gray, and Kelly had two hits off Gray in Game 2 of this series.
“That’s the lineup I think gives us the best chance,” Leyland said. “I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I feel more comfortable with Jhonny at short than I do in left. We’re looking for some offense.
“He might not get to something Jose would have gotten to, and if someone wants to make a big deal of it, make a big deal about it.
“Knock on wood, I doubt -- it could, but I doubt -- that will end up being the difference in the game. All I know is that we were here at the same time last year and our shortstop was Jhonny Peralta.”
Peralta returned from his suspension for the Tigers’ final three games of the regular season, at Miami, and he played in left field.
This will be his first major league game action at shortstop since Aug. 4.
THURSDAY’S TIGERS LINEUP
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B
9. Don Kelly, LF
Justin Verlander, RHP