February 22nd, 2011

Cabrera arraignment set for March 16

An arraignment hearing for Miguel Cabrera is scheduled for March 16 at 9 a.m. ET in St. Lucie County Circuit Court, according to records listed on the court web site.

Cabrera does not necessarily have to attend the hearing; he could waive the arraignment through an attorney. The St. Lucie County is located in Ft. Pierce, where Cabrera was arrested last Wednesday night on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence.

Where Cabrera will be in mid-March remains in question. He’s currently at home in South Florida, having been released on bond last Thursday morning, while he and the Tigers await a doctor’s evaluation that will help determine any treatment. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said he hopes to hear more on that this week.

While the Tigers expect Cabrera will be around Spring Training at some point, the evaluation and the ensuing action to come out of it will play a big role in determining when.

Cabrera’s locker remains untouched in the Tigers clubhouse while Tigers camp rolls on. Prospect Ryan Strieby, non-roster invitee Scott Thorman and utiltyman Don Kelly have been handling first base in drills, something they would have done whether or not Cabrera was in camp.

Weighing the running game

The Tigers want to be a team that can run a little more. Austin Jackson has set a goal of 40 stolen bases. Yet there’s still the matter of having guys on base for Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

“If you’re on first base and [Cabrera] is up, you’re in scoring position,” said Will Rhymes, who pointed out the percentages often suggest not running.

So how much more can the Tigers really run? Can they be more aggressive stealing bases, or is it more about taking the extra base on a hit?

It’ll be an interesting facet to see develop as spring training unfolds. If you’ve followed for a while, you know the Tigers have talked about being a better baserunning team seemingly every year since Jim Leyland arrived. But at the end of the day, they’re a certain style of team. So you have to take some of this with a grain of salt.

That said, they haven’t had a player with Austin Jackson’s combination of speed and on-base ability in a very long time, and Leyland wants to utilize that talent. Jackson has the green light, but Leyland has the ability to put on the stop sign. But Leyland liked the aggressiveness he saw Jackson develop a bit as last season went along.

“The thing with Austin Jackson you’ve got to remember is he’s going to get better,” Leyland said. “At the same time, they’re going to be more aware of Austin Jackson than they are somebody else.”

It takes time, Leyland said, for baserunners to learn pitchers and read their moves, even though scouting reports on those things have come a long way.

Ultimately, Leyland said, he’s more focused on getting guys who don’t run very often to take their opportunities.