February 25th, 2011
Spring training has effectively began for Miguel Cabrera Friday morning. He took his locker in the corner of the Tigers clubhouse, right next to manager Jim Leyland’s office, and prepared to get in his work. His manager, obviously, was glad to see him.
“One thing’s for sure: Our team got a whole lot better this morning,” Leyland said.
Leyland said Cabrera will be working out like every other player on the team. It’s his call when Cabrera is ready to play in games, and that could happen soon, but Leyland didn’t want to give a definite date.
“That’s hard to say,” he said. “I really believe position players are usually here about 3-4 days and they’re ready to play. Whether that’s the case with him, I don’t know.”
It has been noted that Cabrera is in good physical condition after working out with a personal trainer alongside Magglio Ordonez and Alex Avila for most of the offseason.
The Tigers won’t have an extensive morning of workouts today due to an MLBPA meeting and the 1:05 p.m. ET exhibition against Florida Southern. Cabrera, not surprisingly, won’t be available for that game, nor will Carlos Guillen as he continues to rehab his knee. Catcher Rob Brantly also isn’t expected to play after suffering a corneal abrasion.
Lots to take in from Thursday’s press conference with Miguel Cabrera, and the MLB press release that went with it. Here’s the list version of what we learned:
- Cabrera will enter what MLB vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred termed “a multifaceted, professionally administered program” to address his alcohol issues.
- The program setup will allow Cabrera to remain with the team throughout the process.
- The Tigers and MLB are looking into somebody — sponsor, mentor, counselor, someone along those lines — to be with Cabrera on a regular basis for counseling, support and supervision, much like what Johnny Narron means for Josh Hamilton. Both the team and Cabrera have to be comfortable with whomever they bring on.
- Cabrera apologizes to pretty much everyone involved — teammates, coaches, owner Mike Ilitch, friends, family, and the officer who made the arrest.
- Cabrera has been cleared to work out with the Tigers and will take part in workouts. When he starts playing in games is up to manager Jim Leyland, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
- Cabrera does not plan on getting up in front of his teammates to apologize to them as a group. He said he would rather talk with teammates individually over the course of camp, rather than do something planned or rehearsed. “He’d rather go to each guy 1-on-1, face-to-face, and he’ll apologize to each guy in his own way, throughout the day an din days to come,” Al Avila translated.
- No, Cabrera can’t promise he’ll never relapse again, which is to be expected. But, as Avila translated at the press conference, “He is going to do everything possible for this never to happen again and restore everybody’s faith in him.”
- Under Florida law, Cabrera can still drive while his case makes its way through the legal system (he has a certificate, but Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles reportedly will review the case next month). However, Cabrera is choosing not to drive, and he didn’t drive himself from South Florida to Lakeland.
- Cabrera was still undergoing outpatient counseling this winter. His last meeting was about four weeks ago.
- Cabrera said he was driving his 2005 Range Rover to Lakeland last week with plans to have it shipped back to Venezuela for family members. He hadn’t driven it in 3-4 months, and the radiator went.