Miguel Cabrera misses Tigers full workout after DUI arrest
LAKELAND, Fla. â€” Miguel Cabrera did not report for the Detroit Tigers first full-squad workout Saturday.
“Nor will he be here for the next couple days,” general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters.
Cabrera, the team’s All-Star first baseman, was arrested late Wednesday in Fort Pierce, Fla. on suspicion of drunken driving. Police reports said he took a drink of scotch in front of a deputy and was not cooperative.
Cabrera and the Tigers have been dealing with his alcohol issue since late in the 2009 season when a night of drinking led to an altercation with his wife.
For much of the time since then, Dombrowski says Cabrera has had people around him to monitor his behavior. But Wednesday night, he was alone.
Dombrowski said that Cabrera was driving to the Tigers spring training site in Lakeland when his car broke down.
“The radiator blew up,” Dombrowski said. “It was a 2005 car that he was shipping to Venezuela for family members. He’d left home a couple hours before that. He broke down on the side of the road.”
The overheating car caught the attention of police. Now, Cabrera has the attention of the Tigers, Major League Baseball and the Players Association. He is one of the game’s biggest stars and his presence a reason for optimism when it comes to baseball’s revival in the Motor City.
Manager Jim Leyland says he’s also family.
“I will deal with the baseball part of it,” Leyland said Saturday. “I know it’s a huge story and I’m not trying to duck anything. I’m straight from the heart when I tell you I don’t have very much information.
“When Miguel gets here, we’re going to go about our business. I think he’s going to be welcomed with open arms. We are family. We support family. We’re not making light of it. It takes somebody a whole lot smarter than me with deal with these situations.”
Leyland had not yet spoken to Cabrera. Dombrowski said he had several times.
“He’s cooperative and realized he’s had an alcohol (problem) in the past that he’s addressed and worked through and he fell off of the program,” Dombrowski said. “He acknowledges that and will do what’s necessary to get back on track.
“But I will also say he’s extremely ‘down.’ He want to be here. He feels terrible that he’s not here, but understands the importance that he’s properly evaluated and tht he’s helped.”
Dombrowski said that Cabrera would be evaluated by a doctor appointed by the commissioner’s office and Players Organization and the Tigers will heed his recommendations. He would not comment on legal ramifications stemming from the DUI arrest and indicated it could be the middle of next week before the team had a concrete plan of action.
Leyland vowed Cabrera’s absence and possible treatment would not become a distraction in the clubhouse.
“I feel sorry for the guy,” said outfielder Casper Wells, dressing next to Cabrera’s vacant locker just outside Leyland’s office. “I just want him to get back here, get back to business and build toward a championship season. We’re looking him to carry over the season he had last year.”
Cabrera batted .328 with 38 homers and 126 RBI, also leading the Tigers with 341 total bases and a .622 slugging percentage.
“He’s my teammate. I’m going to support him because he needs support, and he’s also my friend,” veteran outfielder Magglio Ordonez said. “He understands that they’re building the team around him. He’s a superstar, and he needs to act like a superstar.”
For now, Leyland plans no extraordinary measures on the field, indicating that catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez would continue to work at his leisure at first base and that Don Kelly might get a little additional work around the bag.
“He (Cabrera) is going to be our first baseman,” Leyland said.
“I’m not angry one bit. I can’t wait to see him. I love this kid. He’s a great kid, a handsome kid, a talented kid. He’s got a great personality. He has a situation he has to deal with â€¦ I’ll support him and be there for him.”
Asked what he loved most about Cabrera, Leyland did break the solemnity of the atmosphere in his office for just a moment.
“Three run homers — in the eighth inning,” he said. ” I love that sonofagun.”