January 21st, 2010

Inge expects to play full games by camp's end

Brandon Inge most likely isn’t going to be at 100 percent strength when Spring Training opens next month. He might not even be able to play much when Spring Training games begin at the start of March.

“Even if I am, I don’t think they would let me start playing games right away,” Inge said.

If he keeps on this rehab track, though, he should be fully ready by the end of camp.

“The initial projection was that I’m playing in full games by the last two weeks of spring,” Inge said. “And I talked to the doctor today, and he said it looks like I’m ahead of schedule.”

That schedule now has him cleared to start doing baseball activities, which is huge news for Inge.

The All-Star third baseman underwent surgery in October to repair torn meniscus in both knees, injuries which hobbled him for the season’s second half and turned a promising start into a helpless finish. The recovery process has been excruciating for him.

A year ago at this time, Inge was working on a revamped swing with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, making the adjustments that set up that fast start. Not only has he not been able to swing, he hasn’t been able to run.

Only now has he been able to do light jogging.

Right after the surgery, Inge said, “I had braces from my ankles all the way up to my thighs. It was two weeks of hell, that’s for sure. And to be able to at least walk around and jog around and do some baseball activities now, that’s exciting.”

The Tigers will be more excited once he’s able to play full games. That’ll be his last hurdle to being ready for Opening Day.

Quotes from Cabrera

As you’ve no doubt read by now, Miguel Cabrera opened up about his alcohol counseling today. He was very conscious about what he wanted to say, enough so that he had somebody serve as an interpreter when there was a question or a phrase he didn’t understand. That’s something I don’t think we’ve seen him do since he came to Detroit two years ago. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say …

“Drinking is a problem. Right now I feel good because I went through [conseling]. Right now I feel I’m a new man.”

On whether it’s a work in progress: “After the season, I worked on that. I’m still working with that. It’s a process.”

On how he feels: “I feel good. I feel great. I have to keep going. I feel like I’m going to be 100 percent. I’m excited.”

On how much of a difference he thinks counseling has made: “A lot. I feel happy. I feel more comfortable. I feel more comfortable with you guys talking. It’s like something in my life happened. I feel great. Right now I feel like it’s going to be a new season, a new life for me. I’m going to be a better dad, a better husband, a better player and better with the fans, too. And with the media, too.”

On how difficult it was to face his problems: “When you have problems, you can’t hide. When you know you don’t do right, you need to do something and ask for help.”

On whether he feels more grown-up : “I feel grown up now. I’m still young. I’m still learning a lot from baseball and from life. So right now, I’m going to take the right steps for life. Right now I feel comfortable with what I’m going to do. That’s why I feel excited. I feel positive for that.”

On being able to open up more: “I have better communication with my family, with my wife. I feel great with my kid, with my daughter. It’s a beautiful life.”