March 19th, 2012

Miguel Cabrera’s play, as they saw it

While we wait on x-ray results for Miguel Cabrera, here’s a sampling of reactions from the Tigers and one Phillies all-star that pretty much grasps how seriously concerned everyone was:

“It was swelling up pretty quick. Basically, it looked like a fighter that needed a cut man and wasn’t doing too good in the fight.” — Jim Leyland

“He could see [out of his right eye]. He was in shock. When I went up to him, I just wanted to see where the blood was [coming from], because he was bleeding bad. Once I saw [the cut], I was like, ‘You’re ok,’ because he was freaking out, too.” — Max Scherzer

“The first thing I wanted to make sure, when I saw him, was to make sure he could see. When I went up to him, he was cut underneath and above his eye. I’m hoping that he’s going to be ok, that it’s just cuts. Obviously you don’t want to have that, but there’s a lot of other things that can go wrong. I think we’re waiting to hear if there’s any bone fractures or not, around the area. You just pray that it’s just stitches.” — Scherzer

“Hopefully it is just a cut from his sunglasses, and hopefully the sunglasses helped protect him. Otherwise, he would’ve worn the actual ball in the eye instead of just having it hit the sunglass.” — Scherzer

“The hop, it was scary to see, because he had it. It hit the dirt and it went straight up. You don’t see hops like that on a big-league field. It was just a freak thing.” — Alex Avila

“Unfortunately, he had glasses on, because it gave him a gash. Fortunately, he had glasses on, because that can rip a socket out.” — Jimmy Rollins

“During batting practice today, the infield was real rough. I noticed when I was hitting grounders to the second basemen, they got two or three bad hops, just hitting grounders. I don’t know what it was, but the field was rough today.” — Leyland

“[Any other third baseman] would be in the same place Cabrera is right now: Getting stitches.” — Leyland

Cabrera hit in face by one-hopper

Just when Miguel Cabrera’s conversion to third base seemed to be going swimmingly, the reigning American League batting champion was injured by a one-hopper that hit him in the face and knocked him out of Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Phillies.

Cabrera immediately left the game, a towel covering the bloodied right face of his face. He received stitches and was taken to a local hospital for precautionary x-rays.

Cabrera has been starting regularly this spring at third base, his new everyday position ever since the Tigers signed Prince Fielder and put him at first. Cabrera has handled most every play that has come his way, but Hunter Pence’s shot was hit hard enough that left him with virtually no time to react once the ball took a high hop.

Cabrera immediately recoiled once the ball bounced off his face, seemingly near his right eye. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand immediately came running onto the field once play stopped as blood immediately began streaming from the wound.

No immediate medical report was available. The Tigers still have two and a half weeks before they open the season April 5 against the Red Sox at Comerica Park, which would leave Cabrera some time to recover if it’s just a bruise.

Monday: Tigers at Phillies

Cabrera pulls the rare double play of back-to-back road games on opposite coasts of Florida, as do Austin Jackson and Clete Thomas.

Just a reminder that today’s game is on ESPN.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, DH
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Don Kelly, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Clete Thomas, CF
  8. Brandon Inge, 2B
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS

P: Max Scherzer, Octavio Dotel, Collin Balester, Luis Marte, Jose Valverde

PHILLIES

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Shane Victorino, CF
  3. Hunter Pence, RF
  4. Jim Thome, DH
  5. Ty Wigginton, 3B
  6. Laynce Nix, LF
  7. John Mayberry Jr., 1B
  8. Carlos Ruiz, C
  9. Freddy Galvis, 2B

P: Scott Elarton, Raul Valdes, Brian Sanches, David Purcey, Phillippe Aumont

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Tigers option Hoffman, Ortega

Back on the beat after a long weekend off, and the Tigers are back to trimming their roster, a couple players at a time. Today’s moves trimmed the bullpen competition by two, with left-hander Matt Hoffman and right-hander Jose Ortega optioned to Triple-A Toledo.

Hoffman had an impressive camp despite giving up some damage in his last couple outings. Yet as a lefty middle reliever fighting for what will probably be a long relief role for that last spot in Detroit’s bullpen, he had a difficult case to make. He gave up two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.

The 23-year-old Hoffman will be a Mud Hen for a second season. So, too, will Ortega, who struggled at Triple-A last year but opened some eyes in camp this spring, giving up a run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.

The moves leave the Tigers with 17 pitchers in camp, not counting Al Alburquerque, who will open the season on the disabled list. It has a bigger impact on the bullpen competition, which is reduced on the right-handed side to Brayan Villarreal, Luis Marte and Chris Bootcheck, who has quietly survived all the cuts so far. The left-handed side of the bullpen competition now slants mainly towards longer relievers.

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