July 15th, 2014

Cabrera downplays surgery recovery

Miguel Cabrera’s response to a USA Today story that quotes him saying he’s still being affected by his core muscle surgery was short and sweet.

“I’m good,” said Cabrera, who then headed off for other business before batting practice Tuesday afternoon.

The question came about after Cabrera told Jorge Ortiz during Monday’s media day session that the surgery recovery has been tough and isn’t complete. From the article:

“There are times when I feel good, but there are always muscles that are tightening, muscles that are not functioning properly,” Cabrera said in Spanish. “It’s part of the process. The same thing is happening to Justin Verlander, but the difference is he pitches every five days, so you don’t see it as frequently.

“But as he and I talked about, we’re never going to offer any excuses for our performance. We always want to be out on the field and compete, and I think that’s the most important thing we can do, compete and try to get past this tough time. And the main thing is we’re in first place.”

Cabrera initially denied saying his groin was bothering him, but it was seemingly more a matter of semantics. The quotes were recorded, and he had said something earlier to Spanish-language media.

When Cabrera said last week that he wasn’t going to take part in the Home Run Derby, he said it was about his swing, that he didn’t want to mess it up anymore. Go all the way back to the second week of the season, and Cabrera said he felt good but that his swing wasn’t right. Cabrera wasn’t keen on using injuries as an excuse down the stretch last year, either. So Cabrera saying he’s good doesn’t mean he’s healthy.

Futures Game fallout: Thompson promoted, Moya bats right-handed

It took barely 24 hours for Steven Moya and Jake Thompson to go from Futures Game opponents to Tigers minor-leauge teammates. No sooner had Thompson returned from Minnesota than the Tigers promoted him from Class A Lakeland to Double-A Erie, where Moya has been playing all season.

It’s a relatively big step for the 20-year-old Thompson after 39 professional starts. He made 16 starts for Lakeland, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.14 ERA and 75 hits allowed over 83 innings. He walked 25, struck out 79 and gave up just three home runs, two of them allowed in his final start before the break last week.

The late-season stint in the more hitter-friendly Eastern League, which has smaller ballparks than in Florida, should be a good test for the sinkerballing Thompson, who has allowed just eight home runs over 194 2/3 professional innings.

“I got off to a hot start at the beginning of the year and kind of just worked off of that,” Thompson said about his season Sunday. “That’s really it. I’m actually really proud of how far I’ve come since last year, just kind of tweaking my game plan and going out there and executing it.”

Also joining the Erie rotation is left-hander Josh Turley, who went 7-1 with a 1.85 ERA in Lakeland while allowing just 70 hits over 97 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old was a 16th-round draft pick out of Baylor two years ago.

Thompson’s promotion came out moments after outfielder Steven Moya turned around and batted right-handed for the SeaWolves in a pinch-hitting appearance. For a slugger who bats left-handed, it was a surprise. Whether it’s a sign of things to come remains to be seen.

Moya was a switch-hitter as a teenager before he signed with the Tigers. According to Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Times-News, Moya had been taking right-handed swings in batting practice for the past month or so. At some point, the SeaWolves were going to give him an opportunity to try it in a blowout. They lost 11-4 last night.

The batting splits from Moya don’t suggest it’s a pressing issue. He’s batting .260 (33-for-127) with an .829 OPS against left-handers, and .267 (59-for-221) with an .835 OPS off righties.