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Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta (thumb) to begin baseball activities next week

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta expects to begin baseball activities early next week, signaling his first major progress since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb on March 10.

Peralta is scheduled to meet with a doctor on Monday to evaluate his next steps.

"We'll see what he says. After that, I think that I will start doing some work with the bat and the glove," Peralta told ESPN. "I also need to continue rehabbing to regain full motion in the finger, have to work on improving flexibility."

Peralta, 33, injured his thumb when he jammed his glove fielding a ground ball during the first weekend of spring training games.

While the Cardinals have not provided a definitive timetable for his return, Peralta is expected to be out two to three months. He has been rehabbing at Busch Stadium with the Cardinals' training staff since early April, mostly working on lower-body exercises.

"I feel good, and I'm recovering gradually," he said. "This is something that takes time, but the first part of the process went well, and now it's a matter of working on the rehab."

The past six weeks have Peralta's patience; he has been a durable player throughout his career. The Dominican has played an average of 146 games per season since 2005, his first full year in the majors.

Now entering the third year of a four-year contract, Peralta has provided stability at shortstop, batting .275 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 155 games last season.

"This has been the biggest thing that has ever happened to me," Peralta said. "I am so used to be playing during these months of the season, and now being limited to just watching, it's been hard. The hardest thing for me is to not be performing on the field, as I have done for 12 years. It's very difficult for me to be in this situation."