After the throng of media members had dispersed, their questions about his past suspension and future redemption sufficiently answered, Jhonny Peralta sat back down on the stool in front of his locker.

He had arrived four days before his required report date with the intention of assimilating into a new clubhouse and introducing himself separate from the Biogenesis label. Peralta hoped that a clean slate would await him.

Affirmation that one does came almost immediately after the questions stopped.

Adam Wainwright, who had been sitting at a nearby table eating breakfast, headed Peralta's way. He greeted him first with a hug, then looked Peralta in the eye. "Thrilled you're here," Wainwright told his new teammate.

Peralta knows the jeers still await him in out-of-town ballparks, but inside the Cardinals' clubhouse, he is being welcomed by Wainwright and others with the promise of an unblemished second chance. It's mutually beneficial, of course.

Peralta, having served a 50-game suspension in 2013 for his connection to Biogenesis, gets the fresh start he seeks. The Cardinals, in turn, get the shortstop stability that has been absent since the days of David Eckstein. A position of recent weakness will now be filled by a player considered among the best offensively at his position.

For now, though, he is simply one of 58.

"Just like everyone else," manager Mike Matheny said of how Peralta will be viewed in camp. "He's here early, obviously, and that's exciting to see. I don't think his excuse is the snow, either. I think he just wanted to be here and get with his team and we're anxious to kind of let him feel his way through this and build those relationships."

Peralta arrived in Jupiter, Fla., by way of signing a four-year, $53-million contract in November. The deal was not only the largest the Cardinals have ever given a free agent coming from outside the organization, but it offers the Cardinals the chance to boast of more than a mere stopgap at short.

The Cardinals have had seven different Opening Day shortstops since 2007. Peralta is poised to be the eighth in eight years. He is also in position to put a halt on the yearly turnover trend.