Results tagged ‘ Miguel Cabrera ’

Dotel apologizes to Cabrera, team for leadership quotes

Octavio Dotel said he apologized to Miguel Cabrera in front of the team for comments in a Yahoo Sports article in which he suggested Cabrera should take more a leadership role on the team.

“I just want to apologize to Miggy,” Dotel said Wednesday morning. “I’m really sorry, and I hope Miggy doesn’t hate me for that.”

Cabrera later told reporters, “It’s no big deal.”

Dotel was quoted in Yahoo saying Cabrera is “more about his game,” and mentioned other players such as Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander possibly taking a more vocal leadership role.

Dotel suggested the quotes were taken out of context.

“That’s not what I was trying to mean,” Dotel said.

You might remember the exchange between Dotel and Cabrera in the clubhouse in Oakland after the Tigers lost Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Dotel suggested in Spanish that Cabrera needed to talk to reporters and convey a sense of no panic on the team, and Cabrera didn’t talk. Dotel later told that he suggested a team meeting but the efforts were rebuffed.

Though the Yahoo story said Dotel also asked for a team meeting after Game 2 of the World Series, Dotel said that wasn’t true.

“Never against the Giants,” Dotel said. “I was hoping [a meeting would happen].”

Jim Leyland said he had no problem getting apologies like that out in the open when a situation pops up.

“I think that kind of stuff’s great,” Leyland said. “I love that kind of stuff.”

The Yahoo article went on to ask whether the Tigers clubhouse needed more leadership, but made no mention of offseason acquisition Torii Hunter, whose leadership abilities have been praised. Victor Martinez, meanwhile, was mentioned only in passing in the article, though his absence last season left the Tigers looking in other directions for clubhouse leadership.

Cabrera, Verlander named finalists for AL awards

Justin Verlander won’t get a chance to repeat for American League MVP, but Miguel Cabrera will get his chance to keep the award in Detroit. Verlander will settle for a shot at another AL Cy Young award.

MLB Network announced the finalists for baseball’s major end-of-season awards Wednesday night, and to no surprise, Cabrera and Verlander were in the middle of them. Cabrera was announced as one of five finalists for AL MVP, while Verlander was named among the three finalists for Cy Young.

Neither was a surprise, though Verlander actually wasn’t among the three finalists for AL Outstanding Pitcher honor at last week’s Players Choice awards. Unless you spent the last three months outside the country, you know that the AL MVP debate basically an argument over Cabrera’s Triple Crown and Mike Trout’s strength in metrics. The other three MVP finalists announced were Texas’ Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton, and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

The Cy Young field is more open. Verlander’s 17 wins marked his lowest total since 2008, but he again led the league in innings and strikeouts while ranking second in ERA. He again led all AL pitchers in Wins Above Replacement. Whether that’s enough to put him on top 0f a field that includes 20-game winners David Price (also the ERA champ) and Jered Weaver is difficult to answer.

The Cy Young award winner will be announced next Wednesday at 6 p.m., also on MLB Network. The league MVP honors will be announced the next night.

Cabrera on walkoff: “I was not sure it was getting out”

Miguel Cabrera doesn’t look for many pitches to pull, and he says that was the case with his at-bat against Indians closer Chris Perez. Yet all four of his hits off Perez in eight career meetings have gone to left field, including the walkoff home run that completed a five-run 10th inning for a 10-8 win Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.

“I was looking for one pitch to drive the other way, try to hit it hard to the gap,” Cabrera said. “But he fell behind in the count, 3-1, so I was saying stay aggressive and try to hit it hard.”

Asked if he thought the ball was headed out, Cabrera said, “Oh, it was a little scary. It was high. I was not sure it was getting out, but I’m glad it went out.”

Other quotes from the win …

Austin Jackson on Chris Perez: “We haven’t really had too much success off of him. But that just shows what type of team we have. We kept battling even though we were down. Miggy’s been coming up with the clutch hits all year. That was incredible.”

Infante on his hit: “I feel bad because when Jackson made the triple [in the ninth], I had the opportunity for a walkoff and I don’t make contact in that situation. It didn’t work out. But the team was never down all game. I had another situation, and in that situation I wanted to make contact. [Perez] threw me a slider and I made contact to center field. That’s why I feel good. I made a base hit in that situation to tie the game.”

Infante on the win: “Oh, wow. I think that’s the best win I’ve ever seen. With two outs, a good pitcher, that’s the best win I’ve seen.”

Perez on the loss: “That’s what makes this so much worse, the fight that our hitters showed. Obviously, everybody knows we’re playing bad ball and this has been a terrible road trip. But to keep coming back, adding one on, and keep coming back, adding one on, put three up in extra innings, and then watch me [give] it away, it just sucks.”

Castellanos taking fly balls in left field with Erie

Nick Castellanos broke into the U.S. starting lineup for the All-Star Futures Game as the designated hitter. He might also have provided a hint for where he could eventually fit in as a Tiger if Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder stay on the corners for the foreseeable future.

Actually, the hint came from Tigers minor-league instructor Kevin Bradshaw, who talked with Castellanos shortly before his promotion to Double-A Erie.

“Get an outfielder’s glove,” Castellanos said he was told. “Just to have one, it’s not a bad idea. So I went out and got one. I haven’t been getting specific instruction there yet. He just said to get out there, start getting a little different view.”

Once Castellanos made the jump to Erie little more than a month ago, he began tracking fly balls in left field during pregame batting practice — not specific drills, he said, but a way to get accustomed to that angle.

“A lot of it is pretty getting used to seeing the way the ball comes off [the bat] to lefties, comes off to righties, making sure I’m getting behind the balls when I’m running after them instead of running forward and then having to adjust backwards. That’s pretty much it,” Castellanos said Sunday before the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City.

By all accounts, no move is imminent. All of Castellanos’ game action has been at third base, with the occasional start at designated hitter to get him off his feet. But with Miguel Cabrera seemingly at third base for the foreseeable future while Prince Fielder is at first, and the Tigers potentially having an opening in left field as soon as next season, though Castellanos won’t necessarily be ready at that point.

When asked about where his future lies, Castellanos said nothing definitive.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “I know the organization still loves me as a third baseman. They see me there in the future. They’ve also mentioned to get an outfielder’s glove, nothing too serious so far.”

Cabrera broke into the big leagues with the 2003 Marlins as their left fielder because that’s where their void was. They had Mike Lowell at third, though Lowell missed most of September that year and Cabrera filled in at third.

“All those guys are great,” Castellanos said. “I’m just going to have to keep on grinding it through and hopefully I’ll force them to put me somewhere.”

Another example is Albert Pujols, who played both corner outfield and infield spots as a 21-year-old rookie in 2001 before spending most of the following two years as the Cards’ primary left fielder.

“If you hit,” the 20-year-old Castellanos said, “they’re going to find a spot for you.”

Is Miguel Cabrera motivated by hitting slumps?

Miguel Cabrera’s batting average stood at .316 on June 19, before he went hitless in three straight games against the Cardinals and Pirates. He has gone 8-for-16 over his last four games to bring his average back up to .312, including his four-hit, two-RBI game Thursday night at Tampa Bay.

Asked about the performance, Jim Leyland had an interesting reaction.

“I like it when he’s about 2-for-12 and somebody starts writing about it,” Leyland said after the game, “because that usually wakes him up a little bit.”

I’m sorry, what?

“I don’t know if it did or not,” Leyland said when asked further, “but it seems to work.”

For what it’s worth, Cabrera’s skid was 0-for-15 before he homered off Brad Lincoln on Saturday in Pittsburgh. It was the second time this season that Cabrera had that long of a hitless stretch.

When Cabrera went five straight games hitless in an 0-for-22 skid, he bounced out of it with a 12-for-28 stretch with two homers and four RBIs. That was the second-longest hitless stretch of his career.

Is that what’s driving him? Hard to tell. While he has talked a little bit about the team, his comments about his own hitting have been limited lately. He responded in spring training when it was suggested by many that he couldn’t play third base. Nobody has been suggesting he can’t hit, even during his deepest of funks.

It’s also worth mentioning that Cabrera hits well at Texas. He’s a .369 (75-for-203) career hitter in Texas with a 1.014 OPS. However, he’s just a .264 career hitter at Tampa Bay (55-for-208). Yet his ninth-inning homer Thursday was his 11th lifetime at Tropicana Field, two more than he has at The Ballpark at Arlington.

Cabrera named AL Player of the Week

After three days of pounding on Red Sox pitching, Miguel Cabrera collected some hardware on the Tigers’ off-day. The reigning American League MVP runner-up earned the first AL Player of the Week award of the season, beating out teammates Prince Fielder, Alex Avila and Justin Verlander among others for the honor.

The Tigers’ season-opening three-game series sweep of Boston earned them their best start to a season since 2006, and Cabrera was at the heart of it. After his two-homer game punctuated Detroit’s 10-0 win Saturday afternoon on national television, Cabrera hit a game-tying, three-run homer in the ninth inning to send Sunday’s series finale into extra innings. His leadoff single in the 11th started another three-run rally, capped by Avila’s two-run walkoff homer to win it.

Cabrera’s Sunday drive was the Tigers’ first game-tying three-run homer in the ninth inning since Ryan Raburn hit one off Bobby Jenks on Aug. 5, 2010. It capped a 3-for-5, five-RBI performance for Cabrera.

The series continued Cabrera’s trend of fast starts. Combine his last four season-opening series through three games, and he’s a combined 25-for-46 (.543) with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. His three homers and eight RBIs through the first three games, however, are career bests.

“So far, we’ve done our job,” Cabrera said Sunday. “So far, we’ve played good. That’s what we’ve got to focus on.”

For the week, Cabrera was tied for the Major League lead in total bases (14), tied for second in runs scored (five) and had the third-best slugging percentage (1.273).

Amazingly, Cabrera didn’t win Player of the Week honors at any point last season, when he captured his first batting title and led Detroit to its first division title since 1987. This is his first weekly honor since 2010, his fifth in as many seasons in Detroit, and his ninth in his Major League career.

Cabrera: “I was a little scared with my eyes”

Miguel Cabrera’s first play at third base this season was a little acrobatic, a foul pop-up that sent him into a somersault when he reached back for the ball and slipped on the dirt. That wasn’t a scare so much as it was a laugh.

“I don’t know if it was ovation or if everyone was laughing,” Cabrera said after the game, “but it was fun.”

That was a laugh, it turned out. It was the next ball that was a scare for him.

Dustin Pedroia’s sixth-inning ground ball was a hard-hit ball that got past Cabrera. Instead of staying down for the ball, he pulled up too early, earning him an error. That reaction, he said later, was related to the ball that hit him around his right eye a couple weeks ago in Spring Training against the Phillies.

“I was a little scared with my eyes,” he said. “I came up and should’ve gone down.”

Cabrera escaped that play with a non-displaced fracture of the orbital floor below his eye, only because he was wearing sunglasses at third base that day. He realized immediately he was lucky. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about it, even though he was wearing sunglasses in the field Thursday.

“I talked to my teammates after,” he said, “and I’m going to be OK and play my game.”

Manager Jim Leyland reiterated his support for Cabrera.

“He’s fine,” Leyland said. “He’s going to be there [Saturday]. He’s going to be there all the time.”

Cabrera takes ground balls Wednesday

While most of the Tigers position players were on their way to Jupiter to face the Cardinals on Wednesday, Miguel Cabrera took ground balls Wednesday morning at Joker Marchant Stadium as he grew closer to game-ready status.

At this point, it sounds iffy whether he’ll be back in the lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Nationals that will be broadcast back to Detroit on FSN. Cabrera hit in the cage along with Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, but he did not take a full batting practice on the field.

Cabrera shrugged off the question for Thursday, deferring to manager Jim Leyland and the team medical staff.

“If [Leyland] says tomorrow, I’ll be ready,” Cabrera said.

Infield coach Rafael Belliard, for his part, said Cabrera could use one more day of ground balls. The big picture, though, is that Cabrera should be ready soon enough to get back into games down the stretch before the Tigers break camp next Tuesday.


Cabrera: “I’ll be ready. Don’t worry.”

Miguel Cabrera won’t be re-examined by doctors until Tuesday morning, which will determine whether he’s cleared to play in time for the season. The way he’s feeling, though, leaves very little doubt in his mind.

“I’ll be ready. Don’t worry,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said he has no pain in his right eye. The swelling is down, and he said his vision is fine. The only signs of lingering damage from the high-hopper he took a week ago are the stitches and the scar under his right eye.

Cabrera basically came to the ballpark Monday because he’s bored. He can’t do any physical activity until doctors. He also wanted to see some of his old friends on the Miami Marlins.

“I want to see Hanley,” he said. “I want to see Ozzie. I want to say hi to all my friends on the other side. I say hi to my friends here. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be here for practice.”

With all the free time on his hands, Cabrera said he has watched the replay of his fateful play several times. He wanted to see if there was anything he did incorrectly. He can’t find it.

“I was in good position. I was right there,” Cabrers said. “At the last second, I see the ball in my eyes.”

Game 18: What’s next for Tigers at third base

Jim Leyland’s answer to the question of how he’ll handle third base while Miguel Cabrera is out lasted five words.

“I’ve got plenty of coverage,” he said Tuesday morning.

That he does. Between Danny Worth, Don Kelly, Audy Ciriaco and yes, Brandon Inge, Leyland has no shortage of guys who can play over there this spring. Who he plays will likely say a lot about how long the Tigers expect Cabrera to be out.

Inge has had a ton of playing time at second base this season to try to get him acclimated, with surprisingly good results. The Tigers and Leyland have made it abundantly clear that Cabrera is the third baseman now, a message that has grown stronger as Spring Training has unfolded and Cabrera has more than held his own at the hot corner. It would seem unlikely the Tigers will move Inge back to third unless they have to — in other words, if they have a reason to believe that Cabrera would miss time at the start of the season.

If they had to make an adjustment on the fly, they could get Inge ready at third with very little lead-in time. As Leyland said early this spring, Inge could play third in his sleep. So the idea of Inge needing time as an insurance policy doesn’t really hold in this situation.

So while Cabrera is out, the biggest impact could be on Kelly, getting more time at third to fill Grapefruit League innings and more at-bats to get himself ready, as well as Worth, who has been trying to make his case as an extra infielder for some time now. It also could keep Ciriaco in camp a little longer, continuing what has been a decent spring for him.

What we learned: While Ryan Raburn and Delmon Young have been belting balls all spring, the common refrain has been that they’ve been feasting on early spring pitching, when hurlers are usually focusing on their fastballs and rarely mixing in their good secondary pitches. Raburn’s sixth home run of the spring came on a breaking ball from Jair Jurrjens, whose rough spring continued. Young’s ball came on a pitch with more velocity on it.

Either way, their hitting is starting to outgrow the early spring training phrase.

“I don’t know how to explain it. It just seems like Delmon and Raburn get a good pitch to hit, they hit it pretty hard and a lot of times pretty far,” Leyland said. “But I don’t really know how to explain it.”

Hey, it’s only spring training: Justin Verlander said Tuesday was his first real jam in which he had the situation to try to gear up his fastball. He got it up to 96 mph on the radar gun at Joker Marchant Stadium, maybe another tick on other scouting guns.

“The velocity was getting up there, and that’s the first time it’s done that,” Verlander said. “A little harder to control for me, but the more I do it, the better it’ll get.”

At some point, that fastball will gear up to the upper 90s. It’s not there yet, but that’s not something he’s trying to get there at this point in the spring.

The highlight play you saw: Not really a highlight, but you saw a lot of the Lakeland grounds crew working on the mound. Both Verlander and Jurrjens pointed around their landing spots on the front of the dirt.

“It caused a little bit of issues,” Verlander said. “I felt like that might have led to some of the walks. A couple walks, I was slipping a little bit. Obviously, it was a bit more of a problem for Jair than it was for myself.”

At one point between innings, they were both around the mound looking at the trouble spot.

“I was telling him he was doing it, and he was telling me I was doing it, creating that big old hole,” Verlander said. “But I don’t create much of a hole when I pitch, if any of a hole. That’s what I was telling him. … It was weird, because I think them fixing it might have caused more a problem for him, because then his original hole wasn’t there anymore. That’s when he started slipping, I think.”

Up next: With the Tigers scheduled for their lone off-day of the spring on Thursday, they juggled their rotation a bit for Wednesday. Andy Oliver moves up a day to make the start against the Twins at 1:05pm at Marchant Stadium, putting him in a pretty good test that also happens to be the first broadcast of the spring for Fox Sports Detroit. Rick Porcello will pitch in a minor-league game earlier.

To-do list for Wednesday: Stretch out Oliver and get a look at how Twins hitters react to him the second and, maybe in a couple cases, third time into the order. He probably won’t get deep into a third turn, not with a pitch limit around 75 or so, but guys will get a chance to adjust from their first at-bats.