CLEVELAND (AP) - Tigers manager Jim Leyland finally commented on shortstop Jhonny Peralta's 50-game suspension.
And in true Leyland fashion, his remarks were to the point.
``I will say we will miss Jhonny Peralta and that's the end of it,'' Leyland said before Detroit's game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. ``I'm not going to discuss it any further. I do owe you that comment, I think.''
Shortly after Peralta was banned 50 games by Major League Baseball for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal on Monday, Leyland told reporters to leave his office after he was asked to comment on Peralta's suspension. General manager Dave Dombrowski had told media members he would be the team's lone spokesman on the matter.
Leyland said he wasn't comfortable addressing Peralta's complex situation. The two-time All-Star was one of 13 players disciplined in baseball's most sweeping punishment in nearly a century.
``I was not going to make comments on stuff,'' a relaxed Leyland said, sitting at his desk holding a bat before batting practice. ``You're talking about legal issues and everything else. That's silly for somebody like me to be making comments about that. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to get trapped into that.''
Leyland felt it was best to leave the Tigers' comments on the matter to Dombrowski, who spent 10 minutes addressing the situation in Detroit's dugout before Monday's series opener. Leyland thought it was disrespectful that he was asked about Peralta after media members were informed he would only talk about on-field issues.
``We tried to have one spokesman and we tried to eliminate as much bombardment of the players as we could because we are here to play a game,'' Leyland said. ``That's why Dave was the spokesman and that's why we weren't going to get into any discussions about that in here. It's also a no-win situation to start talking about that.
``Some managers have made comments about it. I choose not to because I don't think that's my place. Nothing good could come out it in here because you don't know details. You don't know facts. You don't want to start popping off because you don't know what you're talking about, particularly when it's something of that magnitude.''
Leyland is confident that his Tigers, who have won nine straight and have a four-game lead over second-place Cleveland entering Tuesday's game, will remain driven and won't be distracted by Peralta's absence.
``They did a great job of maintaining their focus pretty good on an uncomfortable day for you and me and the players and everybody else,'' Leyland said. ``They did a terrific job of keeping their focus on the task at hand because it was not a fun day, obviously, for baseball.''

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