DETROIT -- Jhonny Peralta will make the next step for a possible return to the Tigers, as he nears the end of his 50-game suspension, when he reports to the instructional league on Wednesday.
Workouts begin on Thursday at the Tigers' Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla., with games beginning on Sept. 23. Peralta will be playing almost exclusively in left field, a position he has been working on with outfield coach Tom Brookens for nearly a week.
After the Tigers traded for shortstop Jose Iglesias, the team hopes he may be able to fill the need to find a reliable right-handed bat that can play left field to face left-handed pitching. Matt Tuiasosopo and No. 1 prospect Nick Castellanos have split time in the spot this month with mixed results.
Peralta was hitting .347 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 61 games before his suspension. Though he was limited to workouts in the Dominican Republic, his bat remains strong.
"The early signs are more than positive, but we're talking about coaches' [batting practice]," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's swinging the bat really, really well in BP, but once again, I emphasize that is coaches' BP. But that is a lot of games to miss and expect to come back sharp after playing just a few games."
In the instructional league, Peralta will be facing Class A level pitchers that are experimenting with new pitches or extending their seasons to gain more seasoning.
"It's going to be a world of difference," Leyland said. "Instructional league, normally you're going to see a bunch of top-notch young prospects that throw hard, wild."
Leyland said he assumes Peralta will rejoin the Tigers once his suspension ends before the team's final regular-season series in Miami on Sept. 27, but it's unknown whether he would be a part the team's potential playoff roster.
"I don't know if you want to call it a long shot, if you want call it 50-50, I have no idea," Leyland said. "[President/general manager Dave Dombrowski] will make a decision at some point."
Tuiasosopo looking to turn things around
DETROIT -- Matt Tuiasosopo returned to the Tigers' lineup for the first time in more than a week, and he will look to change his fortune after a second half slump.
Before the All-Star break, Tuiasosopo was batting .329 with six home runs and 22 RBIs. Since Aug. 1, he is 8-for-41, all of the hits singles, with three walks and 17 strikeouts. Manager Jim Leyland said Tuiasosopo has been struggling to catch up with fastballs.
"I was just worried about, one, getting a good pitch, and two, putting a good swing on it, those two things," Tuiasosopo said. "It kind of went into, 'I'm going to change my approach to whatever this pitcher I think he's going to do, I'm going to do this on him.' I went got away from that process and that approach."
Until Tuiasosopo entered the starting lineup on Monday, he had been benched in favor of top prospect Nick Castellanos in Detroit's last four games against left-handed pitchers. It's been a conundrum for the Tigers, who are trying to help Tuiasosopo get out of his slump and try to give Castellanos a shot to prove himself.
"[Tuiasosopo has] been working with [hitting coach Lloyd McClendon], and he's been swinging really good lately," Leyland said. "I think he's done a good job for us, and I think it would be unfair to just totally forget him."
With inconsistent playing time, Tuiasosopo is trying to make the most out of his next opportunity. The Tigers are set to face five lefties in the next seven games.
"Sometimes you want to be so perfect that you want to have three or four perfect at-bats," Tuiasosopo said. "You want to hit a home run. If someone's on base, you want to drive them in. You can get out of your approach, and go away from where it needs to be. That's the challenge."
Rondon expected to throw Tuesday
DETROIT -- Bruce Rondon's last pitch in a game was a 102-mph fastball to strikeout Red Sox slugger David Ortiz on Sept. 2. Since then, he's been dealing with some tenderness in his right elbow and has been unavailable out of the bullpen.
"He's OK, no red flags, but we backed him off," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's going to, I believe, throw tomorrow."
Leyland said symptoms of pain in Rondon's elbow developed about a week ago. Before his final pitch to Ortiz, he threw a 103-mph fastball for a strike, his fastest pitch of the season.
Since August, Rondon has a 1.32 ERA, allowing two runs on 11 hits in 13 2/3 innings while striking out 15 and walking six.
Separated shoulder to end Worth's season
DETROIT -- A season that began badly for Danny Worth in Triple-A Toledo will end even worse with the Tigers. The versatile utility infielder is done for the season after separating his left shoulder on a diving stop at third a week and a half ago in Kansas City.
The injury will not require surgery, Worth has been told, but doctors recommended a six-week rehab program. He'll undergo his end-of-season physical on Tuesday, then drive back home to California with his wife.
The Tigers were hoping Worth's arm would respond to rest, but even running put his shoulder in pain, eliminating the option of using him just to pinch-run. The only baseball activity can he do is throw.
"I was going to pinch-run a couple days after [the injury]," Worth said, "and I went down to warm up. But when I moved my arm back, it was killing me. So I was like, 'Oh boy.'"
Thus ends a season that began with Worth being a legitimate candidate to make the Opening Day roster. He lasted in camp until the end of Spring Training before losing out to Ramon Santiago for the utility infield job. Worth reported to Toledo, bruised his left heel lunging for first base April 18, made it back to Toledo in mid-June, hit .238 with a home run and 22 RBIs in 69 games for the Mud Hens, and then finally joined the Tigers as a September callup.
Worth appeared in three games as a late-inning defensive replacement before his shoulder popped out on a diving stop at third base. He had replaced Miguel Cabrera in the 16-2 win over the Royals.
"It's been a year-long frustration adventure," Worth summarized.
Bonderman throws breaking ball without pain
DETROIT -- Jeremy Bonderman was able to throw a breaking ball off a mound without pain for the first time in a couple of days after developing tendinitis and inflammation in his right thumb.
Bonderman originally injured his thumb in Spring Training when he was with the Mariners. He took a cortisone shot at the time and the pain subsided until this month. Bonderman recently had an MRI, which showed there was no further damage.
"Today I didn't feel it at all," Bonderman said. "I'm happy with that."
Bonderman was finished for the 2011 season and missed the next year due to Tommy John surgery.
"[Trainers] said my problem could be my not playing for two years and getting back in it," said Bonderman. "It got irritated from throwing again. I was glad nothing was torn."
• Omar Infante was struck by a ball during batting practice while fielding grounders on the side at second base from Leyland. Infante was down for a few minutes before walking off under his own power and heading into the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Although Infante didn't return to batting practice, he went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in Monday's 4-2 win without showing any signs of pain.
"That was my fault," Leyland said. "I time it so that when the hitter hits the ball, then I hit the ground ball. [Bullpen catcher Scott] Pickens threw me one and I kind of hesitated. I hit a little bit late and he was on his way to fielding the ground ball and he got hit by a line drive. So you can blame that one on the skipper."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.