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Jhonny Peralta to begin a rehab assignment

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Jhonny Peralta of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a photograph at Spring Training photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 25, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta will begin a rehab assignment with Low-A Peoria on Friday as he mounts his comeback from thumb surgery.

Peralta took batting practice yesterday so the Cardinals must have liked what they saw. If his assignment goes well he’ll be on track to come back in June, which is on the optimistic side of projections when he first went down. When he does come back Mike Matheny will have an interesting choice: give the veteran shortstop his job back or stick with Aledmys Diaz, who has hit a blistering .376/.403/.648 in Peralta’s absence.