Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera with vice president and assistant GM Al Avila, right, interpreting for him, speaking for the first time about his DUI arrest at the Tigers Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Florida on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Julian H. Gonzalez)
Miguel Cabrera reported to spring training, but baseball was not the first item on his agenda.
The Detroit Tigers first baseman apologized for his alleged drunken driving incident on Feb. 16, as Major League Baseball said he will undergo treatment set up by doctors administered by management and its players’ union.
The 27-year-old was arrested Feb. 16 on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He is set to be arraigned on March 16.
“I am very sorry for what I have done,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I have worked hard for a period of time and I hope everyone forgives me. All I ask for is forgiveness.”
Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski said last week that Cabrera would undergo treatment before arriving. Tigers position players reported on Feb. 18.
Cabrera didn’t deny that he had an alcohol problem, but said he was willing to undergo treatment and the Tigers have been working with doctors to find a solution. Cabrera said the incident was out of the ordinary and that he had been working on his treatment in Detroit and his hometown in Venezuela.
He refused to say he is an alcoholic.
“I have it under control,” Cabrera said. “It was just a bad decision. I plan to continue with treatment. I made a mistake this time, and all I can do is continue treatment.”
Cabrera said he is eager to meet with his teammates, but he won’t give a clubhouse speech begging for forgiveness.
“There won’t be a big meeting,” Cabrera said. “I want to meet with everyone face to face over the next few days. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my life, and this was a tough one.”
Cabrera does not have a Florida driver’s license, but he does have a driver’s permit that allows him to drive. He said he didn’t plan to do any driving this spring training.
Dombrowski said Cabrera will be treated throughout the season and it is up to manager Jim Leyland to decide when Cabrera will be ready to play.
“We are in the process of trying to help, but he is committed to helping himself,” Dombrowski said. “He’s a quality person with a great heart.”
Asked whether Cabrera might get the same kind of treatment as AL MVP Josh Hamilton of Texas, Dombrowski said it was an option and the Tigers will monitor the situation. After battling drugs and alcohol, Hamilton has a companion on the road at all times to make sure he doesn’t stray from sobriety.
Cabrera will suit up with the Tigers for his first workout on Friday, but won’t see any action when the Tigers scrimmage Florida Southern College. Leyland said he expects Cabrera in the starting lineup when the Tigers open the season on March 31.
Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, said Cabrera has been evaluated by representatives of a treatment board operated by MLB and the union.
“Cabrera has voluntarily cooperated and has been completely forthcoming in this process,” Manfred said, adding that Cabrera was recommended “a multifaceted, professionally-administered program” that will “include supervision as is necessary to ensure that he adheres to his program.”
“Cabrera understands the importance of this program and is fully committed to the program,” Manfred said. “He also understands that any future alcohol-related incidents could involve more serious consequences.”
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.
Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers was arrested on Feb. 16, 2011, for alleged drunken driving in Florida.
Miguel Cabrera Busted for Alleged DUI in Florida