Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera was arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving in Florida, leaving teammates stunned and concerned about the slugging first baseman less than a week into spring training.
The 27-year-old Cabrera has struggled with drinking-related problems in the past, but he’s coming off perhaps his best season. He hit .328 with 38 home runs last year and finished second in the American League MVP vote.
Cabrera was spotted by a deputy in a car with a smoking engine alongside a road in Fort Pierce. Inside the vehicle, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. He refused to cooperate and more deputies were called to the scene.
According to the police report, Cabrera was wandering into the road with his hands up before he was handcuffed. He kept saying, “Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems,” and cursed at deputies who tried to get him into a patrol car.
He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting an officer without violence. He posted $1,350 bond and was released from jail at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
Late in the 2009 season, police said Cabrera got into a fight with his wife after a night of drinking, shortly before his team lost a key game. The Tigers then lost an AL Central tiebreaker to Minnesota.
Aaron’s predictions: Hank Aaron sees hitters regaining superiority over pitchers this season, one that he suspects might end with a World Series between the Red Sox and Giants.
While much of the early spring training buzz has been about the Phillies, who added Cliff Lee to a rotation that already has Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, Aaron said Philadelphia shouldn’t count on winning the pennant.
“I know Philadelphia got Cliff Lee and all those other top pitchers over there,” he said Tuesday from Atlanta. “But hey, those kids did a heck of a job last year for San Francisco. I think they’re going to have a good account of themselves.”
As for the American League, Aaron thinks the addition of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford gives Boston a chance to set up the first Red Sox-Giants World Series since 1912.
“They’re going to score a lot of runs. I know that. And if their pitching comes around, they’re going to be awful tough to beat,” he said.
Blue Jays: Home run champion Jose Bautista and Toronto finalized a $65 million, five-year contract.
The 30-year-old Bautista, who led the majors with 54 homers last season, gets $8 million this year and $14 million in each of the following four seasons. Toronto has a $14 million option for 2016 with a $1 million buyout.
Diamondbacks: Arizona has signed first baseman Russell Branyan to a minor league contract and made him a nonroster invitee to spring training.
Branyan, who hit 25 home runs last season with Cleveland and Seattle, would give the team another option at first base, where young Brandon Allen and newcomer Juan Miranda are the front-runners for playing time.
The 35-year-old Branyan hit .237 last season with 57 RBIs in 109 games. After being traded to Seattle on June 26, Branyan hit 15 home runs in 57 games to lead the power-short Mariners for the season.